Guwahati: With a view to providing a green and cheaper mode of transport to commuters in urban centres, the Union ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has proposed hybrid electric boat services on the Brahmaputra in Guwahati and Dibrugarh.

The proposals were made during a meeting of the National Sagarmala Apex Committee (NSAC) chaired by Union minister of ports, shipping & waterways Sarbananda Sonowal on May 6 in New Delhi.

The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has also proposed electric boat services for three other locations across the country namely Varanasi, Kolkata, and Patna, with recommendations from the Union ministry of housing and urban affairs. The state governments were requested to adopt the model for multi-modal green and cheaper mode of transport.

The Kochi Metro Rail Ltd has procured 23 hybrid electric boats manufactured by Cochin Shipyard Limited, each with a capacity of 100 passengers.

The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways is providing a big push to the RoRo and passenger transportation through waterways as it is an environment friendly solution to mobility, resulting in significant savings of cost and time.

The inland waterways can become a viable medium for intra-city commute and short-distance passenger transport needs. By means of ferries, Ro-pax vessels and high-speed launches, state governments and urban local bodies can offer seamless, integrated transport services to urban and sub-urban populations and ease the stress and congestion of daily commute.

Directing to promote the use of electric ferries for urban water transport, the Union ministry Ports, Shipping and Waterways has proposed to offer separate schemes for providing suitable financial assistance during the operational phase.

Furthermore, IWT is seen as an effective mode for enabling movement of bulk commodities in an eco-friendly and economical way.

Sagarmala is a national programme aimed at accelerating economic development and seeks to reduce logistics costs for both domestic and EXIM cargo with optimal infrastructure investment. 

IWAI, earlier this year, carried out a successful pilot run of 200 tonnes of food grains between Patna and Guwahati and 2,000 tonnes of steel between Haldia and Guwahati through the Ganga, Hooghly, Meghna, Brahmaputra rivers in India and Bangladesh.

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