Government plans to set up 2,000 waterports as well as “Ro-Ro” services at 5 select places to transport goods and vehicles, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today.
Besides, there is a plan to develop 1,300 islands and 280 light houses as major attractions for tourists.
“We will set up 2,000 water ports… India has huge potential for water transport and has 14,500 km of waterways. Not only this we will develop our 1,300 islands as major tourist attraction,” Gadkari said addressing a global summit on â€˜Smart Cities-Smart India, a organised by Assocham.
He said Andaman & Nicobar islands could be developed to attract a huge number of tourists.
He also informed that the expression of interest (EoI) for developing 70 light houses has already been received.
Gadkari said the government will soon start Ro-Ro (Roll-on Roll-off) service at five places including Haldia, Patna, Varanasi and Sahibganj with the World Bank assistance.
Once they are operational, trucks could be transported till the points leading to huge savings which in turn would boost economy, he added.
He also informed that government is constructing waterways on a 1,620 kilometer stretch on the Ganga between Varanasi and Haldia and 30 water ports would be constructed there.
“Varanasi, Haldia and Sahibganj will be developed as multi-modal hubs with roadways, waterways and railways. For this, we have acquired land, our designs are ready, we have given work order for all three places, so before March we will begin work,” said Nitin Gadkari.
He said cargo transportation through river could bring the charges down to as low as 10 paise a km in comparison to Rs 1.5 per km for transportation through road and Rupee one through waterways.
He said India also has huge opportunities in seaplanes, catamarans etc.
The minister said government had initiated river traffic control system from Haldia to Farakka and the system will be introduced in next six months from Farakka to Patna and thereafter from Patna to Varanasi.