India: Shipping Minister Launches Inland Waterways Projects
The Minister of Shipping Shri G.K. Vasan has said that it is the government’s endeavour to make all the ports of the country profitable.
He was speaking after flagging off coal barges of 2100 DWT (Deadweight tonnage) of Jindal ITF Ltd, to formally launch the recently started movement of imported coal on National Waterway-1 (the Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly River System) by inland vessels from Sandheads in Bay of Bengal to Farakka Thermal Power Plant of NTPC Ltd. in District Murshidabad, West Bengal. The minister said that this is a unique project where government, public and private sectors joined hands together to provide a good alternative mode of transport. Shri.Vasan pointed out that the Kolkatta Port Trust would also get revenue out of this project.
The minister also inaugurated a Transport terminal of the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) at the function at Garden Reach Jetty-2 in Kolkatta Port Trust area.
Shri.Vasan said that in due course of time IWAI would develop more such inter-modal transportation hubs with rail and road connectivity for movement of not only the coal but also for other bulk cargo like coal, fertilizers, foodgrains etc. This additional supply of coal through inland waterways, an eco-friendly, economical and fuel efficient mode of transport, will augment coal supply to NTPC Power Plant at Farakka enabling increased power generation and employment opportunities.
The minister expressed happiness that for the first time in the country a private entrepreneur has made a substantiate investment in the IWT development. Jindal ITF Ltd has invested about Rs. 500 crore for transshipper at Sandheads, 23 coal carrying barges, inland water terminal at Farakka with state-of-art coal unloading cranes and a conveyor belt system. The operator, Jindal ITF Ltd. will transport minimum three (3) million tonnes of coal per annum for seven years.
Speaking on the occasion the Secretary, Ministry of Shipping, Shri Vishwapati Trivedi said that this project has been set overcoming great difficulties. He emphasized on the importance of further developing the riverain ports of the region. Shri Amitabh Verma, Chairman, IWAI, Shri R.P.S. Kahlon, Chairman, KoPT and other senior officials also participated in the function.
Kolkata being a transportation hub on the Ganga, the new terminal would serve states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and the North-Eastern Region. The construction of this RCC Inland Waterways Terminal (IWT) terminal was taken up in Kolkatta Port Trust area at a cost of about Rs. 38 crore and it will give a fillip to inland navigation in the region.
This is the first project for bulk movement of coal through National Waterways. It is also the first time when a private entrepreneur has made a substantiate investment in the IWT development for in the country. A conveyor belt system from the jetty on National Waterway-1 to the coal stockyard of NTPC power plant was also set up at Farakka.
Press Release, November 25, 2013