The first phase of National Waterway No. 5 project from Kalinga Nagar to Paradip and Dhamra has moved forward with the completion of dredging covering an 11-km stretch in the non-tidal zone of the Kani river.
Dredging has been taken up between Erada and Padanipal in Jajpur and Kendrapara districts, respectively, covering a collective stretch of 36km.
In the first phase, the waterway will be operational between Jokadia near Kalinga Nagar industrial hub and Dhamra and Paradip ports. The length between these destinations is nearly 201km.
Once it becomes operational, the waterway will help industries in Kalinga Nagar and Vyasa Nagar industrial hub and mines in Talcher and Daitary to transport goods using two major ports of the state.
While several steel plants have come up in the Kalinga Nagar region, there are several coalmines in Talcher and iron ore and chromite mines in Daitary.
The Inland Waterways Authority of India had signed an MoU with the state government, Paradip Port Trust and Dhamra Port Company Limited on June 30, 2014, to undertake the first phase of the waterway project.
In the second phase, the stretch between Talcher and Jokadia (131km) will be developed. The Rs 2,000-crore project will cover a distance of 332km in two phases.
The first phase, considered the most viable, will be part of the National Waterway No. 5 that will connect Talcher coalfields to Haldia port in Bengal.
An official said dredging was on in the three stretches of Erada-Angaispur (11km), Angaispur to Badamanatira (14km) and Badamanatira to Padinipal (11km). Dredging has been completed in 2.7km in the first stretch, half kilometre in the second and 7.7km in the third stretch.
Official sources said dredging was slow in the second stretch because of local resistance. Local residents had resisted dredging as once the depth of the river increased it would become impossible to cross the river on foot with their livestock. “The problem has been sorted out and work has picked up. The dredging in the first and third stretches is going on in full swing,” said an official.
The dredging is being carried out to ensure 2-metre water depth in the non-tidal zone of the waterway. The job is expected to be over in July, the official said.
As the dredging goes on, the Inland Waterways Authority has appointed a consultant to prepare engineering design and bid documents for construction of structures such as weir by March next year, he said.
The authorities plans to make the waterway operational by 2020 and trial run will begin by the end of this year.
The authorities will build a temporary terminal at Erada for trial run of the project’s first phase. A patch of land measuring 6.7 acres has been taken on lease basis for the purpose at Erada.
A joint venture company – Inland Water Consortium of Odisha Limited – has been formed with the Odisha government, Paradip Port Trust and Dhamra Port Company Limited as partners for construction and operation of a permanent terminal near Kalinga Nagar. The Inland Waterways Authority has been requested to provide technical support for preparation of request for proposal documents for the construction of the terminal.
Dhamra, however, has already moved forward with its terminal plan. The Dhamra Port Company has constructed a terminal near its port on its own cost, while as of now the Paradip Port Trust will utilise its existing jetty for the purpose. Later, it will construct a permanent terminal.
In January last year, the Inland Waterways Authority of India started trial run of cargo vessel ( MV Lal Bahadur Sastri) from Dhamra in Bhadrak district to Rajnagar in Kendrapara district to gauge the depth of river water and ascertain the possible hindrances on the route in the tidal zone. A 300-tonne barge was supposed to go up to Padanipal, but high-tension overhead power supply line hindered further progress of the vessel from Rajnagar area.