The Minister for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, Shri Nitin Gadkari flagged off two vessels viz. MV Joy Basudev (capacity 1400 tons) and MV V.V Giri (capacity 300 tons), containing newly assembled cars of Maruti Suzuki and construction material today i.e. 12th August, 2016 at 11. A.M. from the Aghoreshwar Bhagwan Ram Ghat Varanasi . On the occasion, Shri Nitin Gadkari said that it was his wish that the Inland Waterways Transport system is inaugurated from Varanasi, the constituency of the Prime Minister. The Minister said this transport system will promote jobs to lakhs of people in Uttar Pradesh and will enable 11 power stations in the State to get timely supply of coal. He said this will reduce road traffic congestion and also cost less. This route between Varanasi and Haldia will also join Allahabad and Kanpur in the future, he added. Shri Gadkari said Inland waterways will also be used for transporting passengers and entertainment and the Government is extending this facility on 111 waterways. He also said that between Varanasi and Haldia 3 Multi Modal Terminals will be created and river banks will be protected. The Minister said that Digital Global Positioning System will be installed and dredging will be done to ensure that the river is navigable through out the year. National Waterway-1 (NW-1) is being developied under the Jal Marg Vikas Project, with assistance from the World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs. 4,200 crore. The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT Tonnage from Varanasi to Haldia .
Phase-I of the project covers the Haldia-Varanasi stretch. The project includes development of fairway, construction of new Multi-Modal Terminals at Varanasi, Haldia, and Sahibganj, strengthening of open river navigation system, conservancy works, modern River Information System (RIS), Digital Global Positioning System (DGPS), night navigation facilities, modern methods of channel marking, construction of a new state of the art navigational lock at Farakka etc. NW-1 is a waterway of national significance passing through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, potentially serving the major cities of Haldia, Howrah, Kolkata, Bhagalpur, Patna, Ghazipur, Varanasi, Allahabad and their industrial hinterlands including several industries located along the Ganga basin. The rail and road corridors of this region are already saturated. Hence, the development of NW-1 would result in a viable economical, efficient and eco-friendly mode of transport and huge quantities of cargo can be transported thereby helping in economic development of this region. Later on the Minister also layed the foundation stone for the Multi Modal Terminal at Ramnagar, Varanasi. Apart from this 3 Road Projects, Varanasi-Jamur NH 56; Varanasi-Azamgarh NH 233, Varanasi- Gazipur NH 29 were also inaugurated. Additionally other road projects linking Varanasi were also approved. The contract for construction of Phase I of the Multi-Modal Terminal at Varanasi has been awarded to AFCONS Infrastructure Ltd at an estimated cost of Rs 170 crore and is likely to be completed by August 2018. The Terminal will have road and rail connectivity with proposed links on NH-7 and Jeonathpur Railway station respectively. The cargo handling capacity of the Terminal on completion of Phase 1 is estimated to be 1.2 million metric tonnes per annum (MTPA). The cargo that will be handled at the Terminal includes stone chips, cement, food grains, fertilisers, sugar etc. The Terminal will have facilities including berthing space for two vessels simultaneously, storage area, transit shed, parking areas, among others. The Terminal will also have a floating jetty for passenger transportation.