From Bhupen Goswami
GUWAHATI : The Union Minister of Ports, Shipping, Sarbananda Sonowal announced major initiatives planned this year for the development of inland waterways in the state. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will unveil the foundation stones for two major initiatives while inaugurating Maritime Skill Centre for Northeast to ramp up capacity in Pandu port in Guwahati on January 13, 2023. The other initiatives are the Ship Repair Facility at Pandu Multi Modal terminal and an elevated road connecting with the Multi Modal Terminal at Pandu with National Highway 27 in Guwahati.
The facilities are part of major initiatives planned by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways for revamping inland waterways in Assam & the Northeast. The Union Minister also announced an investment of ?1016 crores for the development of inland waterways in Assam for the forthcoming years. A comprehensive package to develop Brahmaputra (NW2) has now been enhanced to ?474 crores as well as an enhanced package of ?148 crores has been earmarked for the development of Barak river (NW 16) recently. The ministry has also approved development of Dhansiri river (NW 31) and Kopili river (NW 57). Highlighting the success of the rejuvenated waterways as an alternative conduit of logistics under the Modi government, the cargo movement in Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBPR) has increased from 2.00 MT in 2014-15 to 5.43 MT in 2021-22, remarked the Union Minister.
Sharing his views on the scheduled launch of Ganga Vilas world’s largest river cruise from Varanasi to Dibrugarh, the Union Minister added, “Ganga Vilas will open up a new vista for the tourism in the country. As the cruise will spend more than ten days in Assam, the foreign tourists will be able to explore and experience a new horizon of socio-cultural hue along the river coast. From Dhubri to Dibrugarh and from Mayong to Majuli, this cruise has curated an interesting journey where the natural beauty of Assam will be relished. It’s success has also opened a new avenue of investment in river cruise tourism in Assam. We hope that it’s multiplier impact on the economy of the state will be manifold.” The Ganga Vilas will stop at Dhubri, Goalpara (Jogighopa), Guwahati (Pandu), Pobitora, Tezpur, Silghat, NematiGhat before anchoring at Dibrugarh (Bogibeel) in the state. The Ship Repair facility at the Pandu Terminal will save time and money.
The facility will cater the repair of vessels of IWT, Govt. of Assam, IWAI, Indian Army, and other private operators plying in NW-2 and 16. The dedicated road connecting the Pandu Terminal with the NH27 will enable 24-hour smooth & swift connectivity making a sound business proposition for cargo operators. The Maritime Skill Centre for Northeast will be instrumental in honing our rich talent pool and acquire much valued skill sets by the candidates for better employment opportunity in the bourgeoning logistics industry.