Union minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, Nitin Gadkari, is expected to lay the foundation stone for the Inland Waterways Authority of India’s (IWAI’s) multi-modal terminal at Haldia and the new navigational lock gate and River Information System (RIS) at Farraka, on March 23, 2018, a senior official of IWAI has revealed. The minister will also flag-off the RoRo service between Kolkata and Howrah on NW-1, the official said.
The modern RIS will work similar to an air traffic control, for monitoring the waterways on real-time basis, officials said. The entire infrastructure for National Waterways-1 will be ready by the end of 2019, as scheduled, IWAI vice-chairman Paravir Pandey said. The IWAI is implementing the Jal Marg Vikas Project for augmenting the navigation capacity of NW-1 from Haldia to Varanasi at a cost of Rs 5,369 crores, with technical and financial support of the World Bank.
Meanwhile, shipping secretary Gopal Krishna, on March 17, 2018, flagged off two tug-barge flotilla for NW-1, in line with the centre’s efforts to augment navigation capacity of the country’s waterways. The high-power tug has a twin propeller, 14-ton bollard pull and two dumb barges of 1,000 ton capacity each. The barge has been procured at a cost of Rs 16.24 crore, and will help in meeting fly-ash from NTPC’s Kahelgoan plant to Bangladesh, the officials said. Krishna later met West Bengal chief secretary Moloy De and during discussions, a river bank protection plan was mooted jointly by IWAI, Kolkata Port Trust and the state government, they said.