With the Centre set to float a tender for development of 36 waterways in the country, the Odisha government said the Inland Waterways Authority of India has plans to spend Rs 2,000 crore in the state in the first phase.
“For the first phase of waterways development, the IWAI has proposed to spend Rs 2,000 crore in Odisha,” transport and commerce minister Ramesh Chandra Majhi said.
The Centre through IWAI planned to develop the waterways from Jionkhali in West Bengal to Talcher in Odisha, a 588 kilometre stretch, the minister said adding that the detailed project report was being prepared by technical consultants.
Of the 588 KM waterways, called East Coast Canal, which will integrate with the Brahmani river and Mahanadi delta rivers, work on a 201 KM stretch will be completed in the first phase.
He said the state government had signed agreement with IWAI, Paradip Port and Dhamara Port for first phase work on June 30, 2014.
As per the condition in the agreement, Majhi said the IWAI would develop and maintain the waterways besides ensuring smooth transportation of goods.
“The government of Odisha will provide land required for the waterways. The state government in a joint venture with Paradip Port and Dhamara Port will construct a terminal for the smooth running of vessels in the waterways,” Majhi said.
The authorities of both the Paradip Port and Dhamara Port would create their own terminal for captive use, the minister said.
The minister said that the environment-friendly and cost-effective mode of transportation would reduce logistics costs significantly. This apart, the operation of the waterways will also create direct and indirect employment opportunities for many people.
A Bill was passed in Parliament in March this year to convert 106 rivers across the country into National Waterways.
Five of the river-stretches, which have been declared as National Waterways, include Allahabad-Haldia on the Ganga (1,620 km), Brahmaputra’s Dhubri-Sadiya (891 km), West Coast Canal Kottapuram-Kollam (205 km), Kakinada-Puducherry canals (1,078 km) and East Coast Canal integrated with Brahmani river and Mahanadi delta rivers (588 km).