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Cargo traffic on Haldia-Varanasi waterway jumps by 20.5%

Cargo Movement on National Waterways has recorded an overall percentage increase of 20% (approx.) during 2022-23 over the year 2021-22.

The cargo traffic between Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Haldia in West Bengal on National Waterway-1 (NW-1) along the Ganga river has increased from 10.93 million ton in 2021-22 to 13.17 million ton in 2022-23, recording a 20.52% jump in one year, Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal said in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha today.

Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is implementing Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) for capacity augmentation of NW-1 between Haldia and Varanasi (1390 km) at an estimated cost of Rs 4,633.81 crore. The objective of JMVP is to enhance transport efficiency and reliability of NW-1, the minister stated.

The project comprises several components such as development of multimodal terminals at Varanasi, Sahibganj and Haldia; intermodal terminal at Kalughat; fairway development, navigational facilities (Channel marking, Day/Night Navigational Aids, River Information System etc.); Community jetties, new navigational lock at Farakka, Modernization of existing navigational lock at Farakka; Quick Pontoon Opening System etc.

The total cargo movement on National Waterways has recorded an overall percentage increase of 16% during 2022-23 over the year 2021-22, the minister’s statement added.

Inland Water Transport is the cheapest mode of transportation, especially for bulk and heavy cargo like coal, iron ore, cement, food grains and fertilizer. Presently, it remains under utilized at a share of 2% in India’s modal mix. Government intends to increase the share of IWT to 5% as per Maritime India Vision (MIV)-2030.

Waterways are also environmentally friendly because the fuel efficiency in this mode of transport is higher. A larger distance can be covered per unit of fuel.