IWAI redrafts Indian Vessels Act to standardise river transport practices

30 May 2017

Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) plans to standardise and streamline inland shipping practices on the river so as to ensure that the creation on infrastructure facilities do not affect the normal course of flow of the rivers.

IWAI will be tabling a revised draft of the Indian Vessels Act, 1917 incorporating a new set of rules, in the next session of Parliament, reports quoting official sources said.

The government has declared 111 river and lake transport corridors across the country as national waterways and rules need to be framed for upkeep and maintenance of these waterways.

Speaking on the sidelines of a seminar on water transport, Prabir Pandey, vice chairman of IWAI told the Financial Express that the draft bill to amend the Indian Vessels Act 1917 has already received clearances from the cabinet and the parliamentary standing committee on transport and shipping. ''We hope the parliament to pass the bill in the next session,'' FE quoted Pandey as saying.

He said the standardisation will cover almost all river transport practices, including vessel designing, so that these vessels can easily pass though low-depth waters.

''We are standardising the designs of the vessels, which would sail with cargo on the river,'' Pandey said adding that IWAI has roped in DST of Germany to design the vessels and the designs would be open to all barge and vessel manufacturers for adoption.

IWAI, he said, would be creating a stockpile of 14 vessel models for on the Ganges under license from DST Germany - the first of its kind in India - and these designs would be put up on the website for any manufacturer to access free of cost.

DST was selected through an international bidding process and was asked to design 14 vessels, including car carriers, bulk cargo, liquid tankers Ro-Ro vessels and LNG powered vessels. Some of the vessels have been designed to carry as much as 20,000 tonnes, he said.

IWAI would develop 45 meters wide channels with assured water depths of 3 metres so that vessels of 110 meters long and 12 meters wide could easily pass through.

At present, IWAI is in the process of awarding dredging contract for the Haldia-Farakka, Farakka-Barh and Barh-Varanasi sectios, costing Rs100 crore, 400 crore and Rs350 crore, respectively, over a seven-year period.

''We have already received the designs for the first five vessels. An expert committee with top level architect from IIT, Kharagpur and Indian Institute of Shipping are at present examining the designs. Once these design gets approved, IWAI would do a model testing on National Waterways -1 before putting it on website for manufacturers to access,'' Pandey said.

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