Union Minister Nitin Gadkari today said he will strive to get work started on the Godavari inland waterways this year itself adding once the project is completed it will change the economies of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra. “Our department has done feasibility study towards Godavari waterways and I will soon give orders for preparing detailed project report (DPR),” he said after laying the foundation for four national highway projects costing Rs 1,523 crore here. “I will strive to start work on the Godavari waterways this year itself and the Central government will allot an initial funding of Rs 2,000 crore for this project. This is my dream project,” the Minister for Road Transport and Highways and Water Resources announced.
Gadkari called upon the three states to contribute 10 per cent equity each for setting up a special purpose vehicle (SPV). The minister said he would get the remaining funds at lesser interest rates and asked the three state governments to send the proposals. “I have started works on 10 waterways in the country. We are bringing in seaplanes and the rules towards this will be finalised in the coming months,” he said.
In Europe, industries are set up beside rivers and containers are transported by ships through rivers, he said adding through waterway transport logistics costs will substantially come down. “For our industrial development inland waterways are very important,” he said adding “if we use waterway transport our exports will double and our logistics costs will substantially come down.”
The minister said 3,000 tmc of Godavari water goes waste into the sea and the Centre is working on two projects to stop this flow of water and transfer it to benefit the states of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. “We are working on stopping it and I am confident that we will be able to stop it. Our priority is to see to it that how these states are going to be benefited from this,” he added. The centre, he said has come out with two projects.
“The first project is we want to tap water from Indravathi river and take it to tail-end of Cauvery (in Tamil Nadu) through two dams and this is a Rs 50,000 crore project,” Gadkari added. The second plan is through Polavaram project (in Andhra Pradesh)- transfer water from the river Godavari to Krishna river and from there to Pennar river and finally to join it with the Cauvery, he said.
The minister further said, “India and Pakistan have three rivers each, however, our rightful share of water from our three rivers is flowing into Pakistan and hence I have directed the department to prepare DPR to ensure that we will be able to transfer the water to Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan.” Gadkari announced approval of an additional Central Road Fund (CRF) of Rs 750 crore to Telangana in addition to the Rs 1,700 crore to the state. The minister also announced sanctioning of Rs 5,500 crore for regional ring road around Hyderabad.