Mumbai: Considering the increasing congestion and inconvenience on road and railways, waterways in Maharashtra are now proposed to be used as a medium to transport goods and ferry passengers. The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has begun the work to initiate navigation of cargos and passengers on four rivers of Maharashtra.

The projects has been divided into four phases namely National Waterway (NW)-10 on Amba river, NW-28 on Dhabol Creek-Vashishti, NW-85 on Revdanda Creek-Kundalika and NW-89 on Savitri Bankot Creek. The IWAI has conducted a complete analysis of these rivers and prepared a detailed project report and proposed it to the central government. The project is slated to be completed in the next three to four years.

Pravir Pandey, vice chairman of IWAI said, “The construction of six lane highways of 300 kilometre costs approximately Rs 50,000 crore while 14,000 kilometre waterway costs Rs 5000 crore. Waterways are an economic mode of transport as there is no acquisition of land involved. Moreover, it will help ease the traffic on roads and avoid the tedious process of transportation through railways.”

The IWAI has also proposed the plan for a National Waterway from Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh to Haldia in West Bengal. The project will costs a budget of Rs 5,369 crore out of which 50 percent will be funded by the World Bank and the remaining 50 percent by the Government of India. The ship carriers or vessels on these waterways will carry a load of 1500 to 2000 tonnes and this entire project is proposed to be completed by 2021.

Pandey added, “The only way to travel within Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal is via roads and railways but this national waterway will help transport both goods and passengers in a eco friendly way.

The entire project will be based on private sector participation and we are willing to partner with companies providing vessels for transportation. Stakeholders are keen on shifting from road and rail to ships as they are fed up of the tiring mode of transport.”

The IWAI has also begun the preparatory work for National Waterways for Goa in terms of Mandovi river, Zuari river and Cumbarjua Canal.

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