River Ganga in Patna
Patna: Cargo vessel MV Lal Bahadur Shastri carrying 200 metric tonnes (MT) food grain sailed through a 2,350 kms waterways from River Ganga in Patna on to Pandu in Assam which is situated on River Brahmaputra. The vessel will travel via Bangladesh and is expected to take about 25 days to cover the entire voyage to reach Pandu in Guwahati in March 2022.
After Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Sarbananda Sonowal, flagged off the inland waterway vessel in Patna, the vessel started its sail on National Waterway-1 (River Ganga) through Bhagalpur, Manihari, Sahibganj, Farakka, Tribeni, Kolkata, Haldia, Hemnagar; Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route through Khulna, Narayanganj, Sirajganj, Chilmari and National Waterway-2 through Dhubri, and Jogighopa covering a distance of 2,350 kilo metre.
National Waterway-1 (River Ganga) is connected to National Waterway-2 (River Brahmaputra) and National Waterway-16 (River Barak) through Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) routes. To improve the navigability, two stretches of IBP routes, i.e., Sirajganj-Daikhowa and Ashuganj-Zakiganj are also being developed at a cost of Rs. 305.84 crores on an 80:20 share basis (80% being borne by India and 20% by Bangladesh). The development of these stretches is expected to provide seamless navigation to North Eastern River via the IBP route. The contracts for dredging on the two stretches for providing and maintaining requisite depth for a period of seven years (from 2019 to 2026) are underway.
The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) aims at running regular scheduled services on these routes and the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways stated that the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) between India and Bangladesh allows mutually beneficial arrangements for the use of their waterways for the movement of goods between the two countries by vessels of both countries.
Sonowal, said, “This is a historic moment for all of Northeast as we embark to reap the benefit of the most seamless cargo transportation through Brahmaputra. This is not just a journey from Patna to Pandu but it is a journey of unfulfilled desires & aspirations to reach out to a wider world via waterways.”
The Minister also laid the foundation stone for construction of Kalughat intermodal terminal at Saran in Bihar on National Waterway – 1. The site is located on river Ganga, about 25 km by road from Patna, and the terminal is directly connected to National Highway 19. This terminal will be constructed at a cost of Rs. 78.28 crores. The capacity of the terminal with one berth will be 77,000 TEU per annum and the terminal has been designed to handle container traffic. The berth will be connected by approach trestles for movement of trucks, vehicles, operating and maintenance equipment. On shore facilities such as roads, drainage, sewerage, water supply, communication system will be developed as part of terminal development.
Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Textiles and Commerce & Industry, said the planned intermodal terminal at Kalughat, Bihar with Rs.78 crore will provide boost to region’s socio-economic development & create multiple job opportunities. He said this will also help decongest the roads of north Bihar and provide an alternative route for transportation of cargo in this area. He further said that this route from Patna can prove to be a viable alternative to the conventional mode of movement of foodgrains and goods for North Eastern region. It will provide a fillip to NE region’s development.
– global bihari bureau