Centre to speed up waterways project
Guwahati, Nov. 19: The Centre will expedite inland waterways projects in the Northeast despite the dismal response to the scheme for promotion of smaller waterways in the region.
The Centre has found that the main reason for the lack of proposals is non-availability of technical organisations and expertise with the various state governments to prepare the proposals and seek its sanction.
Sources said the matter has been reviewed at the highest levels and a decision has been taken that such shortcomings on the part of state governments should not be allowed to become a reason for not harnessing the potential for inland water transport in the region.
The Inland Waterways Authority of India, the apex organisation in matters of inland navigation, will help the state government identify water transport projects and prepare specific project proposals to be implemented by various states, the sources added.
The state governments will also set up separate inland water transport organisations to look after and execute various inland water transport projects.
As the first step, the Centre, with the help of consultants, will identify, enumerate and prioritise potential inland navigation development projects in each of the states by referring to all the available reports/data/statistics, through interaction with officials of respective state governments and also selectively visiting such potential river sections and locations.
It will prepare separate project reports for the schemes on each of the identified projects by undertaking reconnaissance surveys and data collection specific to each project and in consultation with the implementing agencies under the respective state government.
These reports will then be made available to the respective state governments.
Sources said the Centre would help the respective state governments submit their proposals to the Union ministry of shipping, seeking its approval for schemes.
It will co-ordinate between the state governments and the administrative ministry at the Centre to facilitate the sanction for the projects and timely implementation by the state government.
Inland water transport is operationally cheaper, high in fuel efficiency and environment friendly and has a vast potential to act as an alternative mode of transportation.
However, it has also made it clear that the proposed identification study will not include the Brahmaputra and the Barak, for which separate action is under way, in accordance with policy applicable to the National Waterways.