Providing a major boost to inland water transportation, the Assam government is working on Rs 700 crore plan to modernize the state’s inland waterways.
In connection to this, a slew of services under the Inland Water Transport (IWT) department were flagged off at Lachit Ghat in Guwahati on Thursday.
The services were launched by Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma in the presence of cabinet minsiter Parimal Suklabaidya along with other dignitaries.
10 Catamaran Vessels, 3 Tug Boats, and a Search and Rescue Vessel were flagged off at the event held today.
This strategic fleet expansion is a visionary initiative that seeks to harness the vast potential of Assam's abundant river systems. The introduction of these vessels is set to redefine inland water transport in the state, offering numerous benefits in terms of efficiency, safety, and environmental sustainability.
The steel catamaran vessels are highly developed and fully furnished with ultra-modern navigational tools. They can also be operated at high speed even in low-draught waters. The vessels can carry about 100 passengers and six four-wheelers. The facility has been launched under an estimated cost of Rs 38.43 crores.
Meanwhile, at a cost of Rs 15.75 crores, three tug boats have been inaugurated for emergency response efforts of the Inland Water Transport (IWT) system and will be powered by 2x400 HP engine with enhanced towing capabilities.
Further, a Search and Rescue (SAR) boat was also inaugurated at a cost of Rs 1.79 crore. The SAR boat will be a crucial asset in patrolling and monitoring inland waterways and contribute to a safe environment.
The ceremonial launching of the vessels is a testament to the Assam Inland Water Transport Project’s vision for a vibrant and sustainable transportation network across the inland waterways of the state.
The Government of Assam (GoA) with financial aid from the World Bank has taken up the Assam Inland Water Transport (AIWT) project to improve the quality of inland waterways transport by integrating high-quality passenger and vehicle ferry services in Brahmaputra and Barak rivers, to ensure a safe, sustainable and reliable mode of transport for myriads of commuters across the state.
To modernize Assam’s IWT sector, the World Bank is financing/assisting GoA through a phase-wise project, which includes upgradation of ferry Infrastructure, Fleet Modernization, institutional capacity development, etc.