Integration of inland waterways, coastal roads on 2020 agenda: Minister
The Dollar Business Bureau The Bill for declaration of 101 waterways as National Waterways (NW) is going to be introduced in the current Parliament session. This was informed by the Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari, in a Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting of the Ministry of Shipping, on Thursday. Speaking at the meet, the Union Minister further informed that the developmental process of the waterways found feasible for navigation, would be commenced from 2016-17. The Union Minister also informed about a proposal for establishment of a multimodal grid with road, rail and port connectivity with river terminals, on the existing National Waterways and Barak River. The already-approved Jal Marg Vikas (NW-I) is a component of the proposed multimodal grid, he added. The Minister exuded confidence that the already-proposed multimodal hubs at Varanasi and Sahibganj would give boost to industry, by generating employment and contributing to the GDP growth. The Minister also highlighted the Ministry’s plans to promote coastal shipping, which include green channel clearance, incentivisation of the modal shift of cargo, schemes for development of dedicated coastal berths at the ports, among others. The Ministry plans to incentivize the modal shift of cargo such as fertilizers, food, sugar, marbles, tiles, edible salt and over-dimensional cargo, containerized cargo and automobiles. The initiatives also include 70% abatement to the services tax, on par with the road and rail, 40% abatement on Vessels and Cargo-related charges, customs and central excise duty exemption on bunker fuel. Presenting the Ministry’s views of Vision 2020, on the coastal shipping, the Union Minister said the development of cruise and coastal shipping would be brought into the focus. The other plans under Vision 2020, includes development of coastal shipping as a part of end-end logistic chain, integration of inland waterways with the coastal roads and development of regional centres of coastal cargo, he added.
This article was published on April 9, 2015.