Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has begun the preparatory works on 106 additional National Waterways (NWs). In phase I, eight waterways are being considered for development, a press release said. Such waterways will cover states such as Bihar (NW-37, Gandak & NW-58 , Kosi), Uttar Pradesh (NW-40 Ghaghra), Goa (NW-68, Mandovi, NW-111, Zuari and NW-27, Cumberjua Canal), West Bengal (NW-97, Sunderban), and Assam (NW-16, Barak).
While the Detailed Project Report (DPR) for these waterways are ready, the tender process for fairway development of two NWs namely NW-16 and NW-40 i.e. river Barak in Assam and Ghaghra in Uttar Pradesh respectively have been initiated.
For Goa waterways, the tenders for construction of jetties would be taken up shortly. For another 46 waterways, which are in coastal and tidal regions, two stage DPR studies have been initiated. These reports are in the final stage of preparation.
Based on the recommendations, further development works would be under taken. Of the remaining 52 waterways, which are in remote, inaccessible and hilly regions, only feasibility studies have been ordered.
Field surveys in 44 NWs have been completed and are in progress in another four. Draft feasibility report of 36 NWs have been received and are under evaluation. The need for developing additional National Waterway is essential as only 0.6 per cent of country's freight is transported through the inland waterway despite vast network of rivers across its geographical corner that form about 20,000 Km of navigable route.
Transportation through inland waterways comes with inherent advantage of being cost effective and environment friendly. To tap the possibilities of this mode of transportation the government had in April last year declared 106 new waterways.
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