Polity & Governance Prelims cum Mains

Barges with fly ash set sail from Ganga to Brahmaputra

The News

  • A consignment of fly ash sailed from Kahalgaon in Bihar to Pandu Inland port in Assam.

 

Key Highlights

  • The consignment of 1233 tonnes of fly ash set sail for a 2085 km long haul through three Waterways.
  • The freight boats belonging to Inland Waterways Authority of India will travel from Kahalgaon on Ganga (part of NW-1) – via Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route – Pandu near Guwahati on Brahmaputra part on NW-2.
  • The consignment included fly ash from National Thermal Power Corporation’s (NTPC) Kahalgaon power plant for use in cement industry in Guwahati.

 

 

Significance

  • India is taking various steps towards enabling alternative modes of transport that are environment friendly and cost effective.
  • These include inland waterways, multi-modal and inter-modal terminals, Roll on – Roll off (Ro-Ro) facilities, ferry services etc.
  • The 2085 km long haul through waterways will evince confidence and interest in the inland waterways industry in India.

 

Inland Waterways in India: A Background

  • Inland Waterways Transport is the transportation of cargo over rivers, backwaters, canals and creeks.

 

Advantages of IWT

  • IWT is the most inexpensive mode of transportation.
  • According to RITES Report of 2014 on “Integrated National Waterways Transportation Grid (INWTG)” the cost comparison is as below:
Mode Total Rs / Km
 Railways 1.41
 Highways 2.58
 IWT 1.06

 

  • Low Capital Cost: Unlike road construction or railway track laying, IWT is natural mode i.e. water flow.
  • Fuel efficient: 1 litre fuel can transport 105 tonne/km freight by waterways as compared to 24 tonne/km by road and 85 tonne/km by rail.
  • Low maintenance cost at about 20% that of road.
  • Besides IWT is environment friendly.
  • Inland navigation does not involve congestion, noise emissions, air pollution and other externalities.

 

IWT potential in India

  • India has an estimated 14500 km of navigable inland waterways, including river systems, canals, backwaters, creeks and tidal inlets.
  • About 5200 km of major rivers and 485 km of canals are suitable for inland transport.
  • However, IWT’s share in the cargo movement in India is less than 0.5%.

 

 

  • Compared to 8.5% in USA, 8.3% in China, 38% in Netherlands, 24% in Belgium and 13% in Germany.
  • 10% share of IWT in total transportation could reduce India’s transportation bill by at least Rs 10,000 crores.

 

What are National Waterways?

The principles for declaration of a national waterway are:

  • Capability of navigation by mechanically propelled vessels.
  • About 45 m wide channel and minimum 1.5m depth.
  • It should be a continuous stretch of 50 kms.
  • It should pass through more than one State.
  • It should connect Major Ports.
  • It should pass through a strategic region to provide logistic support for national security.
  • It should connect places not served by any other modes of transport.

 

National Waterways in India

  • As per The National Waterways Act, 2016, 111 waterways have been declared as National Waterways (NWs).
  • There were 5 NWs until 2016 when the Parliament declared another 106 waterways as NW across the country.
  • Out of the 111 NWs, NW-1, 2, & 3 are already operational.
  • Both cargo as well as passenger can ply on these waterways.

 

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