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Sarbananda Sonowal announces Rs 645 Cr for 10 waterways projects on river Brahmaputra in Assam

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GUWAHATI : The Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal announced a major investment of more than Rs 645 crores to develop 10 waterways projects under the flagship Sagarmala Programme of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways.

The projects will be implemented with 100% financial assistance from the central government to enhance terminals and riverine infrastructure along the river Brahmaputra (National Waterways 2) to boost connectivity and foster economic growth.

From the construction of slipways at strategic locations such as Maya Ghat in Dhubri district and Majuli district to the establishment of passenger terminals at Ghagor in North Lakhimpur district and Bahari in Barpeta district, each proposal is meticulously designed to enhance connectivity and facilitate seamless transportation across the region.

Additional passenger terminals are set to be established in Goalpara, Guijan, Kurua, Dhubri, Disangmukh, and Matmora, catering to the diverse needs of different districts within Assam. These ten projects will enhance transportation efficiency, stimulate industrial development and trade in the region.

Sonowal said, “Under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji, we are and have been trying to explore newer avenues and tap the immense potential of waterways in the country. Brahmaputra (NW 2) has been the lifeline for the people of northeast and Assam. Modiji gave us the direction to harness the power of Brahmaputra and develop the waterways to develop an alternative, economic, environmentally sound, and effective mode of transportation. These 10 new projects, which will be developed under the prestigious Sagarmala programme of the Government of India, are designed to boost connectivity, smoothen & upgrade public transportation and nourish economic growth. These Sagarmala projects will be developed building on ferry infrastructure, fleet modernization, and as well boosting last-mile connectivity.”

With the development of North-Eastern states in focus, including Assam, projects exceeding Rs1,000 crore have been initiated under the Sagarmala program. In Assam alone, projects exceeding Rs 760 crore are currently underway, signifying the government’s dedication to the region’s progress. The MoPSW is also developing River tourism and water sports along Brahmaputra under which seven tourist jetties will be constructed at Oriumghat, Bhupen Hazarika Setu, Koliabhom ora Bridge at Tezpur, Bogibeel Bridge, Dikhow Mukh, Kalongmukh and Uzanbazar in Guwahati.

Sonowal said, “Our rich waterways system remained deprived of any attention under the Congress governments. Despite the lack of focus on development of the river ways prior to 2014, we have made substantial progress under the Narendra Modiji’s 10 years of welfare government. Continuing this path, these new projects are designed to further bolster maritime infrastructure, add more muscle to the maritime infrastructure resulting in promotion of trade & commerce via river Brahmaputra. Under the inspiring leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji, with sustained effort to enable and empower waterways, the river Brahmaputra is on its way to reclaim its old glory as a thriving trade and commerce route, unfolding enormous economic opportunities for people of the region.”

With the prioritization of port infrastructure expansion and the development of mega ports with capacities exceeding 300 and 500 million tonnes per annum (MTPA), coupled with efforts to boost the share of Inland Water Transport (IWT) to 5% by 2030 under the Maritime India Vision (MIV), the government is charting a comprehensive course towards a brighter maritime future for India.

Development of an Eastern Grid – at Brahmaputra and Barak rivers along with Ganga and Sundarbans – will boost regional integration and trade with South Asia and Eastern South Asia. Eastern Grid can unlock multi-lateral trade potential of $49 billion dollars.

Government has spent Rs 1,040 crores on development of waterways which has resulted in operating of 20 Waterways in NER which was only ‘ONE’ till 2014. With the initiatives taken in last 9 years the cargo handled via Indo Bangladesh Protocol route (IBPR) has increased to 170%. It is also noteworthy that the first Ship Repair facility, with an investment worth ?208 crores, in NER is being developed through Hooghly-Cochin Shipyard Limited (HCSL) at Pandu along River Brahmaputra.

Sonowal recently inaugurated Passenger-cum-Cargo terminal at Bogibeel near Dibrugarh built with an investment of nearly Rs 50 crore; Inland waterways terminal at Sonamura is developed with an investment of Rs 6.91 crore; The upgraded terminals at Karimganj and Badarpur are completed with an investment of Rs 6.40 crore.

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