Centre committed to exploring waterways potential for NE's benefit: Sonowal

Silchar (Assam): Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the Central government is working to explore the full potential of inland waterways as it is an important means of communication for the development of the interior parts.

He also underlined the role of waterways in ensuring greater economic vibrancy in the North Eastern region.

After reviewing the progress of waterways projects for Barak Valley of Assam on Saturday, the Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways on Saturday said, “Northeast India is rich and its richness must reach the world in order to make people aware of our rich heritage and resources. Inland Waterways comes as a wonderful avenue for us – the people of Northeast – to take our produce out into the global trade map in an efficient and economical way.”

Sonowal, who hails from Assam, said the Central government is working towards unlocking this potential of the North East by enabling the river systems to act as a conduit of growth and development.

“As the engine of New India’s growth story, the North East has a huge role to play in enabling this vision. Waterways play a crucial role to reach out to the interiors of our region and open the doors of opportunity in trade, service in the global market. We are working steadfastly towards this,” Sonowal added.

The Union minister reviewed various projects under implementation around North East region by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI).

He reviewed the progress made on the renovation of existing shore facilities at Badarpur terminal and renovation of existing shore facilities at Karimganj terminal.

Sonowal directed the officials to take all necessary measures, including dredging, in order to ensure smooth passage of cargo vessels on National Waterways 2 (Brahmaputra) and NW 16 (Barak).

The IWAI is carrying out the work for renovation of IWAI terminals at Badarpur along NW- 16 (river Barak) and Karimganj along IBP route (river Kushiyara) in Karimganj district of Assam through CPWD on deposit work basis.

To maintain the fairway on river Barak, dredging work will be undertaken by Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) between Bhanga to Badarpur (10.50 km) of NW16 at an estimated cost of Rs 45 crore for a three-year period.

The hydrographic survey in ‘No man’s land’ of river Kushiyara between India and Bangladesh has been conducted by a joint team of IWAI and BIWTA, Government of Bangladesh, last month.

Karimganj terminal is a notified Port of Call and Badarpur is an Extended Port of Call in NW16.

The export through IWT has grown manifold in recent years and export in 2022-23 is already three times more than in 2021-22.

The projects reviewed by Sonowal will not only benefit Assam, but also adjoining states of Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya, particularly with presence of cement industry, stone crushers, coal deposits, food processing units, tea estates, etc.

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