Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Shipping
25-October-2016 16:57 IST
Development of National Waterway -1 Driving Economic Benefits and Employment Opportunities in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal

Development of Inland Water Transport is one of the major endeavours of the Ministry of Shipping

Development of Inland Water Transport is one of the major endeavours of the Ministry of Shipping. The Phase-1 of Jal Marg Vikas project will cover the Haldia- Varanasi stretch. The project includes development of fairway, Multi-modal terminals at Varanasi, Haldia and Sahibganj, strengthening of river navigation system, conservancy works, modern River Information System (RIS), Digital Global Positioning System (DGPS), night navigation facilities, modern methods of channel marking, construction of new state of the art navigational lock at Farakka etc. This Project is expected to facilitate navigation of commercial vessels with the capacity of 1500-2000 Tons. It has been taken up with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank.

The development works on NW-1 is expected to drive the economic growth of States like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. In Uttar Pradesh the construction of Varanasi (Ramnagar) multi-modal terminal, at an estimated cost of Rs 170 cr. commenced in August 2016.  The Terminal will have cargo handling capacity of 1.2 MMTPA on completion of Phase-1 in August 2018 and will include facilities like berthing space for two vessels, storage area, transit shed, parking areas, and a floating jetty for passenger transportation.  On 12th August 2016, the Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping also flagged off the trial run of two cargo vessels from Varanasi, paving way for regular movements of vessels on the NW-1 stretch. An inter-modal terminal has also been proposed to be constructed at Nawapura, Ghazipur on the north (left) bank of the river. The possibility of LNG fuel bunkering at the proposed terminal is also being explored. As many as 50,000 new jobs are expected to be generated in Uttar Pradesh out of various works on NW-1.  

Jal Marg Vikas Project envisages large investment in Bihar in the form of state of art terminals at Kalughat and Gaighat, ferry services, RO-RO services and dredging opportunities. Once the Kalughat terminal is developed, the transportation of cargo from Kolkata to Nepal through waterway (via Kalughat terminal) will be cheaper as compared to Railways and Road by 26% and 13% respectively when return cargo is available. It has also been assessed that the overall investment will lead to direct and indirect employment of more than 50,000 persons in Bihar. The employment opportunities are envisaged in works like surveying, dredging, bandalling, administration, safety & security, cargo handling, bunkering, vessel repair, terminal operation and management, ferry and Ro-Ro operations and management etc. The economic analysis for the loan appraisal by the World Bank has concluded that the project would lead to extensive economic and social development of the hinterland along the banks of river Ganga in Bihar.

In West Bengal, the proposed multi-modal terminal at Haldia on NW-1 is expected to become the hub for transportation of cargo to the North-East and West Bengal. The Terminal has already received a commitment of 5.92 MMTPA of cargo volume by the year 2018 (the year the Terminal is ready for operation) from the Industry, indicating huge cargo potential of the proposed terminal. Flyash is expected to be the major cargo with a commitment of 3.8 MT followed by vegetable oil (0.63 MT), cement (0.36 MT), among others. Other than the Haldia terminal, IWAI plans to develop GR Jetty-I, GR Jetty-II & BISN under the public-private partnership mode.  For the capacity augmentation of NW-1 for navigation, IWAI also plans to build a new navigation lock and subsequently modernise the existing lock at Farakka.  The new lock will be adjacent to the existing lock and will facilitate a two way traffic. At the existing lock, it takes about 2 hours or more for a vessel to pass. The new lock will be designed so that, it will take 38 minutes for a vessel to cross. If movement of a vessel is followed by movement of another vessel in the reverse direction, the operating time will be 23 minutes only. In terms of employment opportunities, Jal Marg Vikas Project is expected to create 56,000 jobs in West Bengal. 

Jharkhand is endowed with close to 80 billion tons of coal of all categories. The proposed multi- modal terminal at Sahibganj will play an important role in transportation of domestic coal from the local mines to intended thermal power plants owing to its good railway connectivity. The Terminal will have cargo handling capacity of 2.4 MMTPA on completion of Phase-1 in 2018. Close to 5000 jobs are expected to be created due to Jal Marg Vikas Project in the state.

A detailed feasibility report (DFR) on the Jal Marg Vikas Project has been prepared by reputed national & international consultants. According to DFR, this project will help in the de-siltation of the river and will improve the water flow through scientific dredging allowing navigable depth upto 2.3 to 3 meters over a width of 45 meters. In this project there will be no need to construct barrages on this stretch of National Waterway – 1 (Haldia to Varanasi) also. The consolidated environment impact assessment report has not indicated any adverse impact on the ecology of the river due to this project, making this project feasible from the environment perspective.