Guwahati, February 5 : The Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and AYUSH, Sarbananda Sonowal flagged off an inland waterway vessel MV Lal Bahadur Shastri from Patna to Guwahati, today.
The vessel is carrying 200 Metric Tonnes of foodgrains headed for Pandu port in Guwahati. It will travel via Bangladesh to reach the destination by early March, 2022. The minister also laid the foundation stone for construction of Kalughat intermodal terminal at Saran in Bihar on National Waterway - 1 (river Ganga).
This historic event was also graced by Union Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Piyush Goyal; Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Ashwani Kumar Choubey; Union Minister of State for Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Shantanu Thakur.
The vessel starts 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 km.
The vessel will take about 25 days to cover the entire voyage and is expected to reach Pandu in Guwahati by early March. This historic feat will usher a new era of growth for all the states of Northeast India.
The Government has undertaken the ambitious Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) with an investment of about Rs. 4600 crore for the capacity augmentation of NW-1 (river Ganga) for safe and sustainable movement of vessels upto 2000 tonnes.
Speaking on this landmark moment, the Union Minister Sarbananda 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 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.
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).