A new navigational lock will be constructed at Farakka, as the existing one – which is nearly four decades old – is not capable of tackling the expected load which will begin passing along the route by 2021.
Pravir Pandey, vice-chairman of Inland Waterways Authority of India, said the World Bank has
given the clearance to build the navigational lock at Farakka.
Pandey was speaking at the Annual Shipping Conclave on Maritime Infrastructure Developments in East and North East India, organised by the Bengal Chamber.
Pandey said that the designing of the navigational lock – considered to be one of the most crucial and challenging aspects of the project – will be carried out by SPE Belgium. Larsen and Tourbo will be constructing the navigational lock.
“It will come up at a cost of Rs 350 crore and it is expected to take around 30 months time to complete,” he said, adding that the existing navigational lock had come up in 1978 and it could not control the huge flow of traffic.
The new lock will come up just parallel to the existing one.
“Passage time will be reduced with construction of the new navigational lock, which will have the latest technologies,” said Pandey.He further added that cargo load upto 15 million tonne would pass through the lock by 2021 and 25 million tonne by 2024.
Steps have also been taken to use the route of the national waterway for cheaper transportation of cargo to Nepal.
“Cargoes on heavy vessels from Malaysia and Thailand will be offloaded to smaller ones of around 2,000 to 5,000 tonne capacity at Garden Reach jetty.
“The smaller vessels will pass the navigational lock upto Kalughat, which is 30 km upstream of Patna. It would take another two-and-a-half hours to take the offloaded cargo to Nepal border by road,” Pandey said.
He also added that it would reduce the transportation cost by 23 per cent if vessels carry cargo back in the same route or 12 per cent if no cargo is carried back.
Several companies including Tatas and Adanis have shown interest in using the route.The multimodal transit (MMT) will come up at Haldia.
It is essentially meant for smaller vessels of upto around 5,000 tonnes.Around 61 acre of land
has been taken from Haldia Dock to set up the MMT on lease for 30 years and the cost to set it up is around Rs 500 crore.It will come up in the next two years.