To promote Inland Water Transport (IWT) in the country, 111 waterways (including 5 existing and 106 new) spread over 24 states have been declared as National Waterways under the National Waterways Act, 2016. Based on the outcome of techno-economic feasibility and Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) of the NWs, 26 NWs have been found viable for cargo/passenger movement. Moment of glory for the people of Barak Valley, one of the 26 NWs found feasible happens to be Lakhipur -Tuker Gram region of Barak River.
Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways informed through a press statement, “To promote inland waterways as a supplementary, eco-friendly and cheaper mode of transport, waterway usage charges levied by the IWAI on vessels moving on National Waterways have been waived in July 2020, initially for a period of three years.”
Sharing the details of projects initiated on Barak River (Lakhipur -Tuker Gram) in Assam, the Ministry informed, “Development of NW 16 and IBP route at the cost of Rs 145 crore during 2020-21 to 2024-25 was approved by SFC. Declared as National Waterway-16 (NW-16), Barak River connects Silchar, Karimganj, and Badarpur in Cachar valley of Assam through road/waterway with Haldia and Kolkata ports through Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) Route.”
It added, “There are 10 activities as approved by SFC for NW-16 & IBP route. Out of these 10 activities, 03 are of permanent nature viz, (1) Construction of Terminal at Sonamura on Gumti river, (2) Construction of terminal at Maia on Ganga River and (3) Upgradation of Badarpur and Karimganj terminals, which are in consideration. The remaining 07 activities are of recurring nature viz., (1) Fairway development (2) O&M of navigational aids (3) Consultancy training (4) cargo promotion, and (5) amenities at Ports of Call etc. These activities are carried out on annual maintenance basis under implementation at 2.55% progress till October 2022.”