Guwahati: The MV Lal Bahadur Shastri, an Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) vessel, on Sunday completed its pilot voyage from Bihar’s Patna to the Pandu Port here, ferrying food grains via Bangladesh.

The ship was received at the end of the voyage by Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal, along with Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Guwahati Lok Sabha MP Queen Oja and IWAI Chairman Sanjay Bandopadhyay, among others.

A self-propelled vessel, MV Lal Bahadur Shastri carried 200 MT of food grains for Food Corporation of India (FCI).

The IWAI is planning to run a fixed-schedule sailing between National Waterway- 1 and National Waterway-2, heralding a new age of inland water transport for Assam and the northeast, an official release said.

The vessel had started its sail from Patna on NW-1 (river Ganga) on February 5 and covered a distance of 2,350 km.

Another vessel MV Ram Prasad Bismil, with two barges — Kalpana Chawla and APJ Abdul Kalam has started voyage from Haldia on February 17, and is on the way to Pandu, it said.

The vessel has already reached the Bangladesh border at Dhubri (Assam).

Speaking on the occasion, Sonowal said, Today marks the beginning of a new age of inland water transport in Assam. This is going to provide the business community a viable, economic and ecological alternative.”

He said seamless cargo transportation is a journey of unfulfilled desires and aspirations of the people of Assam.

The start of cargo movement through ships via the Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBRP) marks the beginning of a new age of economic prosperity for the whole region of the northeast, Sarma said.

Also read | Maiden voyage of food grains from Patna via B’desh reaches Guwahati

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