Delhi,30 May:An Action Plan has been prepared at an estimated cost of Rs. 751 crore for making the three National Waterways fully functional. These are: (i) Allahabad-Haldia stretch (1620 km) of the Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system(NW-1) (ii) Sadiya-Dhubri stretch(891 kms) of Brahmaputra river (NW-2) and (iii) Kottapuram-Kollamstretch of the West Coast Canal along with Champakara Canal and Udyogmandal Canal (205 km) (NW- 3).
Under this Action Plan, specific projects have been identified for development of fairway, navigational aids, terminals, procurement of vessels (namely dredgers, survey launches cargo vessels etc.). The Action Plan is targeted for providing:
(a) Fairway with 3m/2m/1.5m depth in NW-1, 2m/1.5m depth in NW-2 and 2m depth in NW-3.
(b) A judicious mix of fixed and floating terminals with mechanized handling facilities and access and egress by road/rail.
(c) Facilities for day ad night navigation and
(d) Some vessels for developmental works and also for operating demonstrative cargo services.
The Action Plan envisages fund requirement of Rs. 751 crore. Considering that after making the Waterways fully functional also, it might take some more time for the private sector to become encouraged enough to invest in acquiring and operating vessels for transportation of cargo and therefore, the Action Plan includes demonstration voyages/fixed schedule sai.lings for about 3 to 4 years with viability gap funding.