Recently, the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has approved 25 out of 111 national waterways for cargo and passenger traffic.
- The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways informed in Rajya Sabha that the identification of these waterways is the result of techno-economic feasibility survey conducted by IWAI.
- This survey is a part of the exercise being carried out to identify and develop the extent of waterways. These expansions can be developed into full economic corridors. This facilitates the movement of both cargo (cargo vessel) and passengers.
- Earlier, the ministry, in its endeavor to promote inland water transport in the country, had made 111 waterways (5 existing and 106 new) national waterways under the National Waterways Act, 2016.
- Bulk cargoes such as coal, fly-ash and iron ore will prove to be economical and cost-effective alternatives of transportation through Inland Water Transport (IWT).
- In addition, inland water transport (WT) is an environmentally friendly and less polluting mode of transport than rail and road.
- Other initiatives taken by the government for the development of traffic on national waterways include improving levies and duty collection, increasing regional trade using the IWT model, and Ro-Pax ferry service.
- Some portals have also been launched, such as Cargo Data (CAR-D) portal for analysis and dissemination of cargo and cruise movement for stakeholders. There is a PANI portal (Portal for Asset and Navigation Information: PANI) for compilation of river navigation and infrastructure information.
Source- The Hindu