Govt ropes in US institute for developing waterways ferry services at 18 locations
Ferrying passengers between different locations on National Waterway-1 (NW-1) is going to get a much-needed boost soon.
Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), an arm of Ministry of Shipping, has entered into a contract with a joint venture of Thompson Design Group (TDG), Boston (USA) and Infrastructure Architecture Lab of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) (USA) for identifying suitable locations for construction of 18 ferry terminals in six cities of Allahabad, Varanasi, Patna, Munghyr, Kolkata and Haldia on NW-1.
The consultants will also prepare Detailed Project Report (DPR) and tender documents for the 18 terminals. This JV has earlier worked on similar transport solutions for Governors Island (172 acre island in the heart of New York Harbour in USA), Navy Pier, Chicago, USA and Buffalo Bayou, Texas, USA.
“The contract between IWAI and the JV of TDG and MIT was signed on December 21. Under the contract, the consultants will carry out technical and financial feasibility of the ferry services at the above mentioned six locations”, a senior official said, adding that the consultants will identify the best locations within the specific regulatory, planning and investment framework of the cities.
During the course of identifying the suitable locations for the terminal, the consultants will take into account commercial and passenger characteristic of each city with a goal of integrating transportation networks and facilities to each city, the official said.
The economic needs, civic needs, gaps in civil infrastructure, urban usage, connectivity between modes, land availability and environment and social safeguards will also be given due consideration while zeroing in on the suitable locations, the official added.
The government is developing NW-1 under the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) with technical and financial assistance of the World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs. 5,369 crore and the project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1500-2,000 tons.
Phase-I of the project covers the Haldia-Varanasi stretch. The project includes development of fairway, Multi-Modal Terminals at Varanasi, Haldia, and Sahibganj, strengthening of 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.
The development of NW-1 is part of the government’s renewed push to tap the possibilities of transportation of cargo through inland waterways.