Govt plans Rs5,368-cr investment to develop Varanasi-Haldia waterways

04 Jan 2018


The CCEA, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi hyas given its approval for implementation of the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) for capacity augmentation of navigation on National Waterway-1 (NW-1) on the Ganga at a cost of Rs5,369.18 crore.

The project being implemented with the technical assistance and investment support of the World Bank, is expected to be completed by March, 2023.

The project, which covers the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, will provide an alternative mode of transportation that will be environmentally friendly and cost-effective. The project will contribute to bringing down logistics cost in the country, Gadkari said.

The development and operationalisation of NW-1 will lead to direct employment generation to the tune of 46,000 and indirect employment of 84,000 generated by vessel construction industry.

The project will pass through major districts like Varanasi, Ghazipur, Ballia, Buxar, Chhapra, Vaishali, Patna, Begusarai, Khagaria, Munger, Bhagalpur, Sahibganj, Musrhidabad, Pakur, Hoogly and Kolkata in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

IBRD will provide a loan of $375 million (Rs2,512 crore) while the government of India will provide counterpart funds to the tune of Rs2,556 crore ($380 million), to be sourced from budgetary allocation and proceeds from bond issue. Another Rs301 crore ($45 million) is expected to come from private sector participation under PPP mode.

One of the major problems for a commercially viable and safe navigation on NW-1 is low depth upstream of Farakka due to low discharges from tributaries and difficult hydro morphological characteristics of river Ganga.

The project envisages fairway development through performance based contract for least assured depth of 2.2 metres to 3 metres and bottom channel width of 45 metres, bank protection works, and provisions of navigation aids.

A pilot study on the Allahabad-Ghazipur stretch was commissioned by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) to find solutions to this problem.

Based on the findings of this study, a proposal for development of NW-1 at an estimated cost of Rs4,200 crore ($700 million) was taken up  for seeking technical assistance and investment support from the World Bank to the tune of $350 million in three phases.

IWAI had, in August 2016, signed a contract with DST, Germany to design vessels, especially suited to navigate on NW-1. The consultancy completed with submission of stipulated 13 designs. Testing of designs accepted by the vetting committee is going on.

IWAI has also taken up a technologically challenging project of setting up of River Information Service System on NW-1 for the first time in India. River Information System (RIS) comprises equipment, hardware and software information technology (IT) related services designed to optimize traffic and transport processes in inland navigation.

The project also involves construction of multi-modal terminals and Ro-Ro terminals at various nodes on the Varanasi-Haldia stretch of IW-1.

Finance minister Arun Jaitley had, in his budget speech in July 2014, announced JMVP to enable commercial navigation of at least 1,500 tonnes vessels in Ganga.

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