101 rivers to be declared national waterways

101 rivers to be declared national waterways

Centre on Thursday decided to convert 101 rivers in the country, including nine in Karnataka, into national waterways in an effort to support water transporttation.

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday approved the plans and the Ministry of Shipping is working to enact a Central legislation in the second leg of the current Parliament session.

Announcing this, Union Shipping and Road Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said the government plans to overhaul the five existing National Waterways (NWs) within six months.

The government can take up development of inland waterways for navigation only after it is declared as national waterways by an act of Parliament, Gadkari added.  "Work is already underway to augment five existing NWs, including 1,620 kms Allahabad-Haldia stretch of Ganga-Bhagirath-Hooghly river system for which World Bank has approved Rs 4,200 crore assistance," he said.

No barrages will be built on Varanasi-Haldia stretch as being "wrongly projected" and advanced technology will be roped in to ensure smooth flow of river water, he said.
Inland Waterways (IWWs) is the cheapest and the most environment friendly way of transportation since 1 HP in water moves 4000 kg as against 500 on rail and 150 kg on road.

Also, one litre of fuel moves 24 tonne/km on road, 85 tonne/km on rail and 105 tonne/km on IWWs.

Gadkari also said there will be 1,000 barges on the IWWs in the next five to six years, which will provide direct employment to 20,000 people.

The five river-stretches declared as National Waterways include Allahabad-Haldia on Ganga (1,620 km), Brahmaputra's Dhubri-Sadiya (891 km), West Coast Canal Kottapuram-Kollam (205 km), Kakinada-Puducherry canals (1,078 km) and East Coast
Canal integrated with Brahmani river and Mahanadi delta rivers (588 km).

Malaprabha, Manjara, Pennar, Bheema, Ghataprabha, Kali, Krishna, Tungabhadra and Netravati are the nine rivers in Karnataka to be declared national waterways.

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