Local Goa News

Friday, September 2, 2016

Mandovi, Zuari among 8 rivers to be developed soon

PANAJI: Two Goan rivers, the Mandovi and the Zuari, along with six other national rivers will be fast-tracked for development as national waterways.
Chairman of Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) Amitabh Verma said this on Friday when he disclosed that altogether eight rivers in the country have been shortlisted for “immediate” development as national waterways.

The eight rivers include Barak in Assam, Ghaghara in Uttar Pradesh, Gandak and Kosi in Bihar, Mahanadi in Odisha and Mandovi and Zuari rivers in Goa.
Development primarily means dredging of the rivers to increase the draft. But the other aspects include creation of facilities such as jetties, navigational aids, terminals etc so as to promote coastal shipping.
Speaking at the Maritime Summit in Panaji where he was the chief guest, Verma said that the IWAI would be signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Goa government for developing the Mandovi and Zuari as national waterways. The MoU is likely to be signed in a month’s time while actual work on the two rivers is tentatively scheduled to start in November-December 2016.
Funding of the project will be shared by the IWAI and the Goa government and will probably be in the ratio of 50:50. He said that after 101 rivers were recently designated as national waterways by the government “we decided to take up their development in a phased manner.” In the initial phase, eight rivers have been selected for immediate development while the remaining rivers will be taken up at a later stage.
Designating rivers as national waterways is fundamental to boosting coastal shipping, he explained. The Inland Vessels Act, 2017 is also due for changes, he said. Draft amendments will be placed before the Parliament in the winter session before the old Act is replaced with new Inland Vessel Act, 2017. The IWAI is planning to use inputs from all stakeholders in the market while coming up with the blueprint for developing each waterway, said Verma, who also met up with the state government on Thursday. Several issues regarding development of the Mandovi and the Zuari came up for discussion, he said.
Rabindra Agarwal, joint secretary, Sagarmala, Ministry of Shipping, was another key speaker at the Summit. He said that through Sagarmala, the government has created a road map for connectivity between ports-roads and railways.
The Maritime Summit was organised by Indian Chamber of Commerce, Delhi, a semi-government body. Its theme was ‘Rejuvenating waterways in coastal shipping.’ Only six per cent of cargo movement in India is through waterways compared to 30 per cent in the rest of the world. Of the six per cent, the share of rivers in transportation of cargo is miniscule as bulk movement of cargo is on the seas.

NT Network Goa News

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