As part of National Waterway-1 development, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari would lay the foundation stone for a multi-modal terminal at Varanasi on Friday and flag off trial run of two vessels carrying Maruti Suzuki cars and construction material.

“The two vessels viz MV Joy Basudev (capacity 1,400 tonnes) and MV VV Giri (capacity 300 tonnes), containing newly assembled cars of Maruti Suzuki and construction material, respectively will be flagged off from the Aghoreshwar Bhagwan Ram Ghat, Varanasi at 11 am on August 12. The occasion will also be marked by the laying of foundation stone of the Multi-Modal Terminal at Ramnagar,” the Ministry of Shipping said in a statement today.

The contract for construction of phase I of the multi-modal terminal at Varanasi has been awarded to AFCONS Infrastructure Ltd at an estimated cost of Rs 170 crore and is likely to be completed by August 2018.

The terminal will have road and rail connectivity with proposed links on NH-7 and Jeonathpur railway station, respectively.

The Ministry said the cargo handling capacity of the terminal on completion of phase 1 is estimated to be 1.2 million tonnes per annum (MTPA).

It said the cargo that will be handled at the terminal includes stone chips, cement, food grains, fertilisers, sugar, etc.

The terminal will have facilities including berthing space for two vessels simultaneously, storage area, transit shed, parking areas, among others.

The terminal will also have a floating jetty for passenger transportation.

“National Waterway-1 (NW-1) is being developed under the Jal Marg Vikas Project, with assistance from the World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs 4,200 crore. The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1,500-2,000 DWT Tonnage from Varanasi to Haldia,” the statement said.

Phase-I of the project covers the Haldia-Varanasi stretch.

The project includes development of fairway, construction of new multi-modal terminals at Varanasi, Haldia, and Sahibganj, strengthening of open river navigation system, conservancy works, modern River Information System (RIS), Digital Global Positioning System (DGPS), night navigation facilities, modern methods of channel marking, construction of a new state-of-the-art navigational lock at Farakka, West Bengal, etc.

National Waterway-1 is of national significance passing through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, potentially serving the major cities of Haldia, Howrah, Kolkata, Bhagalpur, Patna, Ghazipur, Varanasi, Allahabad and their industrial hinterlands including several industries located along the Ganga basin.

The rail and road corridors of this region are already saturated. Hence, the development of NW-1 would result in a viable economical, efficient and eco-friendly mode of transport and huge quantities of cargo can be transported thereby helping in economic development of this region, the statement added.