Shri Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Shipping (Independent Charge), Chemical, and Fertilizers while addressing the press conference highlighted that Inland Waterways is one of the most important pillars of “Arth-Ganga” project, which will result into inclusive growth and play a key role in generation of enormous employment opportunities in the National Waterways stretch.
During the address, on February 13, Minister Mandaviya stated that, “Almost half of the Indian population lives around Ganges River belt in which about 1/5th of all India’s freight originates and 1/3rd terminates in the states around Ganges Belt.”
Ministry of Shipping has taken several initiatives in last few years which has resulted into substantial growth in terms of increasing Inland Cruises from 3 to 9, Cargo from 30,00,000 MT to 70,00,000 MT, and Vessels in-flow from 300 to 700.
A lot of activities like developing of small jetties by Ministry of Shipping have been carried out for the benefit for the small community especially for farmers, traders and the general public in the 1400km stretch of National Waterway - 1 from Banaras to Haldia. The Farmers will get a better return for their produce as the transportation of goods would become easier and cost-effective by this. It will improve ‘Ease of Living’ and ‘Ease of Doing Business’.
Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is deploying small floating jetties and ten (10) Ro-Ro vessels for easier and cost-effective transportation of goods/cargo as shown below:
Also, during the address Minister Mandaviya said that Ministry of Shipping is developing Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) Freight Village and Sahibganj (Jharkhand) Industrial Cluster-cum-Logistics Park with an objective of creating synergy with Inland Waterways at the cost of Rs. 200 crores. This will create enormous direct and indirect employment, giving an economical boost in this particular area.
Shri Mandaviya also added that, India as a nation is always supporting Nepal in its economic transformation. National Waterway - 1 will act as a main conduit of connection with Nepal in a trilateral manner,i.e. from Varanasi to Nautanwa(280km), Kaughatto Raxaul (204km) and Sahibganj to Biratnagar (233km). Earlier Nepal was connected by Kolkata and Visakhapatnam Ports for transporting cargo. Now, Inland Waterways, particularly NW-1 will be allowed under Treaty for Transit of Cargo between Government of India and Government of Nepal. It will save logistic cost and decongest Kolkata Port as well.