NEW DELHI: To boost inland water transport, the Government recently approved allocation of 2.5 per cent of the Central Road Fund for National Waterways (NWs) that would result in about Rs 2,000 crore proceeds per annum for their development.
Parliament last year had enacted National Waterways Act, 2016, for developing and maintaining the existing five NWs and 106 new NWs across the Country.
"The Union Cabinet has accorded its approval to a proposal jointly mooted by the Ministry of Shipping and the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways for amendment of Central Road Fund Act, 2000, to allocate 2.5 per cent of the proceeds of CRF for development and maintenance of NWs and a reduction in the share provided for development of National Highways," an official statement said.
CRF is a duty on excise and customs imposed on petrol and high speed diesel. The cess at present is Rs 6 per litre.
"Massive work worth Rs 5,000 crore is underway to develop various projects on the Ganga with World Bank assistance, including development of Multi-Modal hubs," Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari had said earlier this month.
IWAI also has planned to undertake work on the development of 24 NWs during the next three years.
"This is one more step towards promotion of Inland Water Transport sector as a cost effective, logistically efficient and environment friendly sector which would contribute in diverting traffic from the over congested roads and railways and offer an incentive and provide certainty for private companies to invest in the sector," the statement said.
It is estimated that a standard 2000 DWT vessel has the potential to transport 125 truck loads and almost one complete train rake (40 rail wagons) load.