The Union Cabinet
chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today gave its approval for enactment
of Central legislation for declaring 101 additional Inland Waterways as
National Waterways (NW) for navigation.
will create a logistic supply chain with intermodal (Rail, Road and Waterways)
connectivity. It would positively contribute to the GDP by opening up business
opportunities in the area of dredging, barge construction, barge operation,
barge repair facilities, terminal construction, terminal operation, storage
facilities, providing modern aids to day and night navigation, tourist cruise,
consultancy, training of manpower for manning barges, hydrographic survey,
etc. Investment in all these business areas will create numerous opportunities
for employment and economic development and reduce pressure from the already
over-loaded, congested and costlier other surface modes of transport.
business development studies are being carried out under the Jal Marg Vikas
Project for identifying all business opportunities and quantifying anticipated
investments and employment opportunities.
Inland Water Transport (IWT) is world
over recognised as a fuel efficient, cost effective and an environment friendly
mode of transport, especially for bulk goods, hazardous goods and over
dimensional cargo. The enormous socio-economic and environmental advantages of
IWT mode of transportation over other modes such as rail and road can be seen
from the following:-
HP moves 150 kg on road, 500 kg on rail and 4000 kg on water.
litre of fuel moves 24 t-km on road, 85 on rail and 105 on IWT.
of developing waterways is much lower than rail & road.
transportation and transition losses.
Modal Comparative Operating Costs Rs/TKM
Source : Railways – Ministry of
Railways, Road – TTSS, IWT – IWAI
fuel consumption per tonne – km.
emission is 50 percent that of trucks.
mode for hazardous and over dimensional cargo.
pressure on road and rail.
congestion and accidents on road.
In view of the large network of inland
waterways in India, there is vast potential in IWT to act as an alternate and
supplementary mode of transportation. However, so far, in the last 30 years,
only the following five waterways have been declared as National Waterways :-
stretch of Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system (1620 km);
(ii) Dhubri-Sadiya stretch of River Brahmaputra
(iii) Kottapuram-Kollam stretch of West Coast
Canal along with Udyogmandal and Champakara Canals (205 km);
(iv) Kakinada-Puducherry stretch of canals along
with designated stretches of Godavari and Krishna rivers (1078 km); and
(v) Designated stretches of East Coast Canal,
Brahmani river and Mahanadi delta (588 km).
Due to very little investment made so
far on development of this mode compared globally and to the road and rail
modes in the country, IWT mode remains under-developed and its share in overall
internal cargo transport remains abysmally low. IWT sector presently has a
meagre modal share of 0.4 percent in India compared to 42 percent in
Netherlands, 8.7 percent in China and over 8 percent in USA. This is a great
economic opportunity loss to the country.
declaration of a waterway as a NW, development and regulation for shipping and
navigation by mechanically propelled vessels come under the jurisdiction of
Central Government. However, rights over the usage of water, ownership of
appurtenant land, minerals, metals, sand etc. continue to be with the State
Inland Waterways transport has immense
potential for passenger as well as domestic cargo transportation. The Central
Government can undertake development of an Inland waterway for navigation, only
when it is declared as National Waterways by an Act of Parliament. Therefore,
for the development of additional 101 identified waterways for the purpose of
navigation, it become necessary that these inland waterways are declared as NW
by an Act of Parliament.
has undertaken a policy for integrated development of inland waterways for
navigation purposes. According to the existing provisions, the Central
Government can undertake development of an inland waterway for navigation only
when it is declared as a National Waterway by an Act of Parliament inline with
Entry No. 24 in List I of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution.
in view the urgent need for a supplementary/alternate mode of transport on
waterways, such a long waiting period needs to be curtailed. One way of
reducing this time period is to declare all the identified waterways as
national waterways through a single legislation and enable the Government to
undertake development as and when the need arises and preparatory work and
funding tie up is complete.