The state Transport department has decided to upgrade all the 48 transit points on the banks of the rivers in the state to ensure better river transport facility, said the state transport minister Suvendu Adhikari on Wednesday.
In reply to a question of Congress MLA Asit Mitra, Adhikari said: “Rs 10 lakh will be allotted for development of each of the 48 transit points. The work in 20 such places would start by March 2017 and at the same time, 16 new vessels will be introduced to ensure better transport facilities through waterways.
“In the past four years a total 50 new vessels were introduced so that people do not need to wait long to go across river. At the same time, the task of repairing jetties at different transit points was also taken up. Some of the jetties are already been repaired.”
He said that there are 696 waterways in the state and initiatives have been taken to bring the entire water transport system under one umbrella.
Such steps have been taken to ensure an overall development of the water transport system as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has directed to take up the task.
The steps have been taken considering the increase in traffic load on roadways and a committee headed by the chief secretary Basudeb Banerjee has also been formed.
In reply to a questioning related to availability of vessels for tourists in Sunderbans, Adhikari said many tourists from abroad now visit Sunderbans and necessary steps have been taken to ensure that not a single tourist return from the place due to scarcity of vessels.
He further said that steps have been taken for an overall development of the area surrounding Howrah Station where thousands of people visit every day.
Around Rs 20 crore was allotted for the project and a committee headed by Mayor of Howrah Municipal Corporation Rathin Chakraborty. But there are many occasions when railways do not give no-objection certificate to take up certain works.