IWAI urges state to spruce up road connecting Kolaghat jetty with NH-41
Kolkata: Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has urged the Bengal government to spruce up a 4 km long road leading to the highway from the Kolaghat jetty in East Midnapore, to facilitate the transport of cargo through it.
"We have finalised the design of the loading structure at Kolaghat. The only problem is a 4 km road connecting the place with NH 41 that needs reconstruction. We are inclined to do this with the Bengal government, which is happy to re-construct the road. We have got permission to operate our jetty at Kolaghat. It might need some dredging. Once the road is constructed, we hope to start operation before December," said IWAI chairman Pravir Pandey, speaking at the Inland Waterways Summit, organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) in association with IWAI.
Kolaghat has been declared as an extended part of the India-Bangladesh protocol (route) and IWAI expects a lot of fly ash movement from Kolaghat to Bangladesh with Indian vessels being able to load it, once the Kolaghat jetty becomes operational. Tata has already approached IWAI for movement from Kolaghat.
Pandey said that the government has identified 36 National Waterways to be developed in the immediate future. He felt that the country can benefit more, both socially and economically, by developing the inland waterways. He cited that inland cargo has increased from 3 million tonnes to 7 million tonnes between 2014 and 2018.
According to Pandey, Nepal is keen on exploring new waterways for "cleaner and greener" bilateral trade with India and has proposed the Gandak river route for cargo transport.
Under the current arrangement between the two countries, cargo reaches Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh, Kalughat in Bengal or Sahebgunj in Jharkhand via National Waterways-1 on the Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system, before being transported to the Nepal border on road, covering over 170 km.