NEW DELHI: In a special move aimed at promoting Inland Water Transport, India’s 12 Major Ports will create SPVs to develop 111 rivers across India, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said.
Parliament in 2016 had given nod to convert 111 rivers across the Country into National Waterways (NWS), in addition to existing 5 NWs, a move to boost movement of goods and passengers via rivers and expectedly reduce the transportation costs substantially.
"Given the vast potential of rivers for inland transport, we have decided that 12 Major Ports will constitute special purpose vehicles (SPVs) to develop rivers," Shipping, Road Transport, Highways, Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation Minister Gadkari.
Gadkari said 111 rivers, which are to be developed as National Waterways, will be divided among these SPVs for development. "We have issued orders to divide rivers among ports. For example, Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT) will have Maharashtra and Goa rivers," the Minister said.
Gadkari regretted that unfortunately development of waterways had been on the backseat in the Country resulting in barely 3.5 per cent of trade being done through the mode here as against 47 per cent in China, 40 per cent in Europe, 44 per cent in Japan and Korea and 35 per cent in Bangladesh.
He said this mode of transport is not only a green mode of transport but has the potential to establish an optimal modal mix and reduce logistic cost.
Meanwhile, as per feasibility reports of the new National Waterways (NWs) completed so far, 36 NWs have been found technically viable for development.
The detailed project reports of another 22 rivers have been finalised, while six are in final stages, Gadkari said.
The Minister said Rs 2,000 crore from a central fund will be used for development of the water transport, operationalising at least 10 of the 111 National Waterways this year.
The Government has earlier approved allocation of 2.5 per cent of the Central Road Fund (CRF) for NWs that would result in about Rs 2,000 crore proceeds a year for their development.