The future progress of India's Northeast region lies in the development of its waterways, Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal said while reviewing the progress on the Pandu Ship repair facility in Guwahati.
The new facility announced on August 26 is going to be a major contributor to the economic resurgence of the region and will not only boost trade activity with the neighbouring countries but also open doors to the geostrategic Southeast Asian waters.
Developing the waterway connectivity is a further amplification of India's Act East Policy, which focuses on New Delhi's outreach towards its eastern maritime neighbours, especially the 10-nation ASEAN and island territories with a large Indian diaspora.
The construction of the Pandu Ship repair facility is slated to commence from May 2022 and expected to be complete by 2024.
While the design and implementation of the project is being done jointly by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and the Cochin Shipyard Limited, IIT Madras is providing the technical support.
The facility – also referred as ‘Slipway’ – is going to be developed on 3.67 acre of land which is provided by the Assam government.
Sonowal revealed that the work has already started on the National Waterway 2 – the Brahmaputra – as well as National Waterway 6 – the Barak – which will help in facilitating cargo traffic, passenger traffic as well as tourist jetties for economic growth of the region.
In order to achieve a motorable waterway, dredging of both the rivers are to be done at critical junctures so that adequate depth is achieved for cargo ship movement, he stated.
"Our rich history of economic prosperity can be reinvigorated by developing our rivers as waterways for smooth and swift movement of cargo and passengers. This will not only boost the export sector of the entire northeastern region but will also become a major multiplier in the employment generation in the region," said the minister.
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