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12 major ports will develop waterways; Tamil Nadu has three major ports but no waterways to develop

India’s 12 major ports will create special purpose vehicle to develop 111 rivers in a move to promote inland water transport in the country shipping minister Nitin Gadkari said. Parliament has given its nod to convert 111 rivers across the country into National Waterways to boost the movement of goods and passengers through rivers.

The move is expected to reduce the cost of transport and reduce pollution. The 111 rivers are to be developed as National Waterways will be divided among these special purpose vehicles 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.
India has 12 major ports: Kandla, Mumbai, JNPT, Marmugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Ennore, V O Chidambaranar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia), which handle approximately 61 per cent of the country's total cargo traffic.

Tamil Nadu has three major ports but ironically no major rivers flow in the state and the only existing major river Cauvery has been made bone dry since Karnataka has not been releasing water during lean seasons for the past forty years.

The 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.
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 the minister said.

As many as 36 National Waterways have been found technically viable for development as per the feasibility reports completed by the ministry. Activities have been initiated on about 10 of these," Gadkari said. These include stretches of rivers Barak, Gandak, Cumberjua, Mandovi, Zuari, Alappuzha, Rupnarayan and Sundarbans.

The detailed project reports of another 22 rivers have been finalised, while six are in final stages, Gadkari said.

The minister said all 12 major ports under the Centre were in profit and will be able to scientifically develop the NWs through their SPVs.

He said profits of the ports are expected to touch Rs 7,000 crore this year, up from Rs 3,000 crore in 2014. When I took the charge of the ministry, the profit of the ports was Rs 3,000 crore. This year, we are expecting profits up to Rs 7,000 crore," he said.
Gadkari also said the major ports which earn in dollars can take loans in dollars and develop the projects.
Five of the existing NWs include Allahabad-Haldia on Ganga (1,620 km), Brahmaputra's Dhubri-Sadiya (891 km), West Coast Canal Kottapuram-Kollam (205 km), Kakinada-Puducherry canals (1,078 km) and East Coast Canal integrated with Brahmani River and Mahanadi delta rivers (588 km).

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.


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