New Delhi – The Rs 169.59 Crore Multi Modal Terminal (MMT) being built at Varanasi by Inland Waterways Authority of India under Jal Marg Vikas project is set to be completed by November this year. This would be a major landmark for the project. The construction of the Rs 280. 90 Crore MMT at Sahibganj is to be completed by May, 2019, and the one at Haldia, being constructed at a cost of Rs 517.36 Crore, is scheduled to be completed by December 2019. In addition to this the work on the Rs 359.20 Crore state-of-the-art navigational lock at Farakka is to be completed By June, 2019. Contract for maintenance dredging in the Farakka-Kahalgaon stretch of the river was awarded in April, 2018, for Rs 150 Crore, and work on this has started. The work for construction of two Inter-Modal Terminals (IMT)on NW-1, at Ghazipur in Uttar Pradesh and Kalughat in Bihar will be awarded this year.
Jal Marg Vikas is a Rs 5369 Crore World Bank aided project on National Waterway 1 (River Ganga), aimed at augmenting the navigational capacity of the Varanasi to Haldia stretch of the river, to enable commercial navigation of at least 1500-2000 ton vessels. The project includes construction/setting up of multi-modal terminals at Varanasi, Sahibganj and Haldia, , IMTs, navigational lock, Ro-Ro terminals, jetties, river information system, vessel repair and maintenance facilities, fairway development, channel marking, river training and conservancy works.The total financial progress at the end of FY 2017-18 for the project was Rs 678.85 Crore. This means a progress of 13.05%. JMVP is scheduled to be completed by December, 2022.
IWAI has also finalized 13 vessel designs suitable for inland water transport. The models have been designed by M/s DST, Germany, with focus on economic efficiency, low transport cost, high safety, low draft and high carrying capacity. The testing of these models has been completed and final report is awaited.
To enable private sector participation, IWAI signed an agreement with M/s Summit Alliance Port East Gateway (India) Pvt. Ltd. on 26-04-2018 under a revenue sharing model (38.3%) for operating and managing IWT terminals at Garden reach in Kolkata and Gaighat and Kalughat terminals in Patna. Further, the RFQ for operations and maintenance of Varanasi MMT has also been issued.
In a major development, IWAI will also support Nepal in undertaking techno-economic feasibility study of the rivers, upgradation of technology of existing infrastructure, setting up of coordinating authority in Nepal for developing inland waterways.
IWAI has also initiated development work on eight new National Waterways. Tendering for these will be done during the current financial year. In addition to this, Detailed Project Reports (DPR) are being finalised for 18 new NW, DPR studies have been awarded for 2, and hydrographic and feasibility studies are underway for 37 new NW.
IWAI is also working towards furthering India’s Act East Policy and the Government’s focus on development of North Eastern Region (NER). To reduce travel distance between Meghalaya and work from July 1, 2017 between Dhubri to Hatsingimari is Assam. While NW-2 (river Brahmaputra ) is already operational, development work on NW-16 (river Barak) has also been initiated. In 2017-18, 5.6 lakh tonnes of cargo was moved through IWT in NER. To enhance access to NER through waterways, the work for awarding dredging along two identified routes , Sirajganj – Daikhawa and Ashuganj – Zakiganj , has been initiated.
On NW-3 (West Coast Canal; Kottapuram – Kollam , Champakkara & Udyogamandal canals) , which is also operational 4 lakh tonnes of cargo that included Over Dimensional Cargo (ODC) was moved in 2017-18.
IWAI is also developing NW-4 in a phased wise manner. Phase I – Muktyala to Vijayawada ; Phase II – Vijayawada to Kakinada , Rajahmundry to Polavaram stretch of Godavari and further subsequent phases that include Commamur canal, Buckingham canal and balance stretches of Krishna & Godavari.
Even as works on IWAI projects are going on in full steam, substantive potential cargo movement is planned at various stretches of NWs. NHPC will move 70 Lakh MT (Cement, Flyash, Steel, H&M/E&M) cargo through Bogibeel for seven years. Further, NTPC has 30-40 Million Tons of Pond Ash which needs to be disposed from its Farakka plant located along NW-1.
Besides commercial development, IWAI is also working to facilitate pilgrimage movement during the 2019 Kumb Mela on the lines of facilitation it has been providing at Ganga Sagar Mela and Guru Purab at Patna Sahib.