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Centres bid to improve North East’s waterway connectivity under ACT East Policy.
Guwahati: Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, along with Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal, attended the MoU signing programme between Inland Water Authority of India & Hooghly Cochin Shipyard Ltd. on Thursday (August 26) for setting up a new ‘Ship Repair Facility’ at Pandu in Guwahati.
As per the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), the design and implementation of this project with the best standards would be ensured. The technical support is to be provided by IIT Madras. The facility, also known as Slipway, is to be developed on a land of 3.67 acres provided by the Government of Assam and is expected to be completed by August 2023. The facility is to be built at an estimated cost of Rs 75 crores.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister said that nearly 200 vessels are plying on the rivers of Assam and for repairing these vessels needs to take to Kolkata. Now, with this facility in Guwahati, repairs will be done here, saving time and money.
He said that prime minister Narendra Modi has been emphasising the development of roads, railways, waterways, airways, and internet connectivity in the NE.
The chief minister also thanked Union Minister Sonowal for setting up the Slipway at Pandu and announcing plans to build a modern convention centre at the Pandu Slipway site. He also requested the Union Minister for setting up a maritime cum shipping institute in Assam so that required manpower for the emerging sector can be created while also generating employment opportunities for local youth.
Dr. Sarma said, “Our civilisations prospered by the rivers and under Prime Minister Modi’s leadership, we are harnessing the power of the rivers to bring prosperity and growth. Mongla and Chittagong Ports in Bangladesh are being connected with waterways of the state and it will open up vast opportunities for trade & businesses,” he said.
Speaking at the programme, Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said that Prime Minister Modi has relentlessly pushed for NE’s growth through Act East Policy. BBIN & ASEAN countries have been brought closer to the NE region through Act East Policy.
“Before independence, the British used to export Assam’s products like timber, coal etc through the waterways to other parts of the world and we must harness the rivers for revolutionising water transport here,” Sonowal said.
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