Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) and Ayush, Sarbananda Sonowal confirmed the historic agreement signed between Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), an autonomous body under MoPSW, and Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) to dredge more than 120 kms of waterways in Assam.
The 120 kms waterways would maintain an all-weather fairway for smooth passage and movement of ships and ferries. The MoPSW has already approved a fund of Rs 204.47 crores for the smooth execution of the project.
The agreement will be in force till 2026, with a provision to increase it further.
The agreement will affect dredging, banding, channel markings, and river training works in order to ensure the safe navigation of vessels.
Among the major waterways, multiple stretches over River Brahmaputra, Dhansiri, Kopili and Barak will be developed and maintained fairways to unlock the value of inland waterways transportation in the region.
Speaking at the occasion, Sarbananda Sonowal said, "Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the government is taking necessary measures to ensure minimum LAD for smooth and safe passage of vessels and ferries around the year. This agreement will ensure that one of the most affordable, efficient and green modes of transportation get a boost in the region which will tremendously help unlock the economic potential in the region."
He said that with the successful movement of huge cargo and the world's longest river cruise, Ganga Vilas; the sustained LAD in waterways of the region will bolster business viability, and trade and unlock opportunities for the people of the region.
The objective of the project is to develop the fairway and maintenance three RoPax routes on the Brahmaputra River (NW-2), Kopili River (NW-57), and Barak River (NW-16) River navigational routes.
The required fairway will be maintained for a period of 6 months during the lean period months every year for 3 years and Dhansiri River (NW-31) navigational routes with the required fairway for a period of 6 months during the flood period months every year for 3 years.
The DCI, India's pioneering organisation in dredging and maritime development, enters the inland waterways sector of the country for the first time.
It will examine the dredger leasing model to execute these works.
The process has already started in the first phase for the stretch of River Dhansiri and River Brahmaputra while the second phase of the project over River Kopili and River Barak will start very soon.
(with inputs from ANI)