New Delhi: The Bill to convert 101 rivers across India into waterways was tabled in the Lok Sabha, India’s Lower House of Parliament, by Surface Transport and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday.
Thus far, only five river stretches have been named national waterways; and the BJP-led government under Narendra Modi feels that the promotion of waterways, stretching to 14,500 km across the country, is a priority as it is a cheaper mode of transportation than road or rail.
“We are aiming to reduce the traffic burden from the roads, and promote inland water transportation, where the cost per kilometer is barely INR0.50 (less than $0.01), compared to INR1.00 by railways and INR1.50 through roads,” Gadkari said.
The government has already decided to launch the PM Jal Marg Yojana and projects for setting up dry and satellite ports, besides converting rivers, lakes, canals, creeks and backwaters into waterways.
The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has also signed a pact with the Orissa state government, Paradip and Dhamra ports to develop commercially viable stretches of National Waterway #5.