Silchar: Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Sarbananda Sonowal on Saturday asked experts to ensure seamless movement of cargo on Barak River, the National Waterways 16.
Sonowal on Saturday reviewed various projects under implementation around North-east region by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) at Silchar.
He visited Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) Terminals at Badarpur and Karimganj to reviewed progress of renovation of existing shore facilities.
The union minister directed the officials to initiate immediate steps, including dredging of Barak river for smooth flow of cargo.
The Minister was accompanied by the Minister of Transport, Fisheries and Excise, Parimal Shuklabaidya, Rajdeep Roy, Lok Sabha member from Silchar; Kripanath Mallah, MP from Karimganj; MLA of Udharbond, Mihir Kanti Shome and senior officials.
Speaking on the occasion, Sarbananda Sonowal said, “Northeast India is rich and its richness must reach the world in order to make people aware about our rich heritage and resources.”
Sonowal said inland waterways come as a wonderful avenue for the people of Northeast to transport the produce out into the global trade map in an efficient and economic way.
IWAI is carrying out the work for renovation of IWAI terminals at Badarpur along NW- 16 (river Barak) and Karimganj along IBP route (river Kushiyara) in Karimganj District of Assam through CPWD on deposit work basis.
To maintain the fairway on river Barak, dredging work will be undertaken by Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) between Bhanga to Badarpur (10.50 kms) of NW16 for an estimated cost of ₹45 crores for a 3 year period.
The hydrographic survey in no man’s land of river Kushiyara between India and Bangladesh has been conducted by joint team of IWAI and BIWTA, Bangladesh government in the last week of October 2022.
The river from Bhanga to Lakhipur (121 km) has been declared as National Waterway16. It connects Barak Valley with NW1 and rest of India through IBP route 3 & 4 and with NW2 (river Brahmaputra) through IBP route 7 & 8.
IWAI terminals play a major role for trade in the Barak Valley and adjoining areas. Karimganj terminal is a notified Port of Call and Badarpur is an Extended Port of Call in NW16. The export through IWT has grown manifolds in the recent years and export in FY 2022-23 is already more than 3 times (total 53 vessels carrying 9987 MT) of that in FY 2021-22 (total 18 vessels carrying 2490 MT). With the renovation of the terminals will further easy and increase the export activities & commodities.
The projects have major influence in districts of Cachar, Karimganj & Hailakandi in Assam and adjoining states of Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya, given the presence of cement industry, stone crushers, coal deposits, food processing units, tea estates, etc.