The World Bank has approved a loan of USD 375 million (around Rs 2,421 crore) for the ambitious inland waterways project between Haldia in West Bengal and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
An official statement said that the World Bank has approved the loan of USD 375 million for capacity augmentation of National Waterway-1 (River Ganga) under the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP).
The loan amount is about 45 per cent of the estimated project cost of Rs 5,369 crore.
The 1,390 kilometre waterway project of the shipping ministry would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1,500-2,000 deadweight tonnage (DWT).
The waterway will pass through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, serving major cities of Allahabad, Varanasi, Ghazipur, Bhagalpur, Patna, Howrah, Haldia and Kolkata besides the industrial hinterland including several industries located in the Ganga basin.
"The rail and road corridors in this region are heavily saturated. Hence, the development of NW-1 would provide an alternative, viable, economical, efficient and eco-friendly mode of transport," the statement said.
NW-1 will have three multi-modal terminals, one each at Varanasi, Sahibganj (Jharkhand), and Haldia.
There will be two inter-modal terminals at Kalughat and Ghazipur, a navigation lock at Farakka and five Roll on-Roll off (Ro-Ro) terminals.
Ferry services will be developed at Varanasi, Patna, Bhagalpur, Munger, Kolkata and Haldia besides vessel repair and maintenance facilities.
The project will enable the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) to set-up River Information Service (RIS) System on NW -1 for the first time in India.