Shillong: The Bill on converting 101 rivers across the country into waterways will be tabled in Parliament on May 5, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said today.
“The Inland Waterways Bill will be tabled (in Parliament) on Tuesday,” he said at the opening of the Jorabat-Barapani bypass to the nation here.
Promotion of waterways is a priority for this government as it is a cheaper mode of transportation as compared to roads and railways, he said.
The government has so far declared only five river stretches as waterways.
Gadkari said the government is aiming to reduce traffic burden from roads and promote water transportation where the cost is barely 50 paise a km in comparison to Re 1 by railways and Rs 1.5 a km through roads.
Inland waterways comprising rivers, lakes, canals, creeks and backwaters extend about 14,500 km across the country.
However, potential of this mode of transport has not been fully exploited so far.
The government has already decided to launch PM Jal Marg Yojna and projects for setting up dry and satellite ports, besides converting riverways into waterways.
The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has also signed a pact with Odisha government, Paradip Port and Dhamra Port to develop commercially viable stretches of National Waterway 5.
In the National Waterway-5, East Coast Canal has been integrated with Brahmini river and Mahanadi delta rivers (588 km).
Also a project to develop National Waterways -4, Sholinganallur-Kallapakkam stretch of South Buckingham Canal has been sanctioned.
The National Waterways - 1, 2 & 3 have been made operational. Five of the river-stretches, which have been declared as National Waterways, include Ganga-Bhagirathi- Hooghly river system (Allahabad-Haldia-1,620 km); the Brahmaputra (Dhubri-Sadiya-891 km); West Coast Canal (Kottapuram-Kollam) along with Udyogmandal and Champakara Canals-(205 km); Kakinada-Puducherry canals along with Godavari and Krishna rivers (1,078 km) and East Coast Canal integrated with Brahmani river and Mahanadi delta rivers (588 km).