IWAI inks contract with DST, Germany for designing special vessels
The Dollar Business Bureau
The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has signed an agreement with M/s DST, Germany to design vessels, suited to navigate the 1620 km stretch of the National Waterways 1, as it looks to provide environment-friendly, safe and economic mode of transportation through this highway.
“The objective of IWAI is to go along with nature and disturb the river minimally. The specially-designed vessels will navigate on low drafts and will be of high carrying capacity, and most importantly, will be environment friendly,” the Ministry of Shipping said in a statement.
Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari has for long been emphasising the need to modernise the existing waterways and cultivate the new ones. IWAI’s collaboration with DST, Germany is expected to forge a combination of standardised vessels to meet the requirement of various types of cargo.
“One of the most important navigational challenges for NW-1 is the kind of vessels that will play on the Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly stretch. Keeping in view the difficult hydro-morphological characteristics of the river in the upper reaches between Patna and Varanasi, it is important to have vessels which can ply on low draft, with high carrying capacity, and are economically viable and environment friendly,” the statement said.
Last month, Gadkari flagged off the trial run of two cargo vessels from Varanasi on NW-1. Considering the demand for transportation of cars through NW-1, the German company has been tasked to create low draft vessels which can carry up to 150-200 vehicles.
As part of the Jal Marg Vikas Project, the NW-1 is being developed with assistance from the World Bank at a cost of about Rs.4,200 crore. This project would facilitate commercial navigation of vessels with 1500-2,000 tonnes of capacity.
Under this project, the government will undertake developmental activities of, conservancy works, Digital Global Positioning System (DGPS), modern River Information System (RIS), river navigation system, night navigation facilities, modern methods of channel marking, Multi-Modal Terminals (mmt) at Varanasi, Haldia and Sahibganj, and navigational lock at Farakka etc on the Haldia-Varanasi stretch.