Union Minister Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution, Textiles and Commerce & Industry has said that Pilot movement of food grains on vessel from Patna (Bihar) to Pandu (Guwahati) will open a new gate to the ‘Gateway of North East’. Addressing virtually on the occasion of “Flagging off of vessel” MV Lal Bahadur Shastri carrying food grains from Patna to Pandu and Unveiling of foundation stone for terminal at Kalughat (Bihar) today, Shri Piyush Goyal said that this 2,350 km voyage will open a new gate to the ‘Gateway of North East’ (Assam) and ensure seamless waterways connectivity to NE Region through Ganga & Brahmaputra rivers. He said that flagging of the vessel named ‘MV Lal Bahadur Shastri’ reminds me of Shastriji’s slogan “Jai Jawan Jai Kisan“. “This will make our farmers Aatmanirbhar by expanding their reach & providing them better prices and better living. This event is a perfect demonstration of PM’s combined vision for ‘Act East’ policy & the inclusive development of Bihar & NE Region”, he added.
The minister stated that the planned intermodal terminal at Kalughat, Bihar with Rs.78 cr will provide boost to region’s socio-economic development & create multiple job opportunities. This will also help decongest the roads of North Bihar and provide an alternative route for transportation of cargo in this area. He further said that this route from Patna can prove to be a viable alternative to the conventional mode of movement of foodgrains & goods for NE region. It will provide a fillip to NE region’s development. The Minister informed that for seamless navigation to NE region, 2 stretches of Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route are being developed with Bangladesh having the budget of Rs. 305 cr. New scheme in budget with Rs. 1,500 cr for North East- PM-DevINE to fund infrastructure and & social development projects, will enable livelihood activities for youth & women, he added.
Enumerating the four major steps taken by Govt. for holistic devp. of waterways infra & ecosystem, to increase share of inland water transport in overall cargo transport Shri Goyal said that under PM GatiShakti, waterways is one of the 7 engines that is driving transformative approach for economic growth & sustainable development. He said Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision is to use 7 engines to achieve efficiency to reduce transport cost & remove distance barriers especially for Farmers & MSMEs. He informed that govt. has undertaken Jal Marg Vikas Project with Rs. 4,600 cr for capacity augmentation of NW-1 (Ganga) for safe movement of vessels upto 2,000 tn. He also mentioned that this Project includes construction/setting up of multi-modal terminals at Varanasi, Sahibganj and Haldia, Ro-Ro terminals, jetties, vessel repair & maintenance facilities, etc. Eighty connectivity projects are in progress under Sagarmala to connect commercial hubs with ports. Shri Goyal also stated that 106 new waterways in 24 States have been declared as National Waterways, taking the total no. to 111. He said development of these rivers would include maintenance of infra for river shipping & navigation & warehouse facilities.
The Minister mentioned that India-Bangladesh friendship is reaching new heights under Prime Minister Narendra Modi & H.E. Sheikh Hasina. He said that our friendship has evolved into a strategic partnership with multifaceted & deep collaboration in trade, investment, food security & technology. This event is another milestone and a testament to ever-growing friendship between India and Bangladesh, he said. This first food grain movement will be an integrated IWT movement via National Waterway-1 (river Ganga), NW-97 (Sunderbans), Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route and NW-2 (river Brahmaputra).
Appreciating the efforts of FCI in carrying out world’s largest food supply system in Covid, the Minister said that FCI has been the lifeline of the nation. He stated that Food security to 80 cr beneficiaries have been extended under PMGKAY and government has allocated 758 LMT foodgrain under PMGKAY I to PMGKAY V during Covid pandemic. He informed that 97 % of population has been connected with One Nation One Ration Card Scheme. He also said that FCI is serving far flung areas like Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh, A&N Islands, Lakshadweep, etc. Earlier in 2014-15 to 2016-17, FCI moved ~22k MT foodgrains to Agartala through IBP waterway route during Gauge conversion in NFR. The Minister also invited on suggestions how FCI can improve compatibility with riverine movement of foodgrains – upgrading warehouses, improving packing to reduce pilferage, increase shelf life, using tech to improve efficiency, etc.
Referring to the Prime Minister’s quote “India is emerging as a leading Blue Economy of the world. Govt is investing in waterways in a way that was never seen before” Shri Goyal said that FCI in association with Ministry of Shipping & Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) will continue to explore & increase the riverine movement, which is most eco-friendly, clean and economical mode of transportation.
Shri Sarbanand Sonowal, Union Minister of Ports, Shipping& Waterways and AYUSH, Shri Ashwini Kumar Chaubey, MoS for CAFPD and Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Shripad Naik, MoS for Ports, Shipping& Waterways and Tourism, Shantanu Thakur, MoS for Ports, Shipping& Waterways and both the Deputy CM’s of Bihar, Members of Parliament Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Shri Sushil Kumar Modi, Shri Rajeev Pratap Rudy, Shri Nand Kishore yadav, MLA Patna Sahib and President of IWAI flagged off vessel ‘MV Lal Bahadur Shastri’ and unveiled the plaque of foundation stone for terminal at Kalughat (Bihar). The dignitaries also released the training documents for Personnel on Inland Vessels. Shri Piyush Goyal virtually joined the event. Shri Khalid Mohd. Chaudhary,Minister of Shipping, Bangladesh also attended the event virtually. The event was organised by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping& Waterways.
“Flagging off of vessel” MV Lal Bahadur Shastri carrying food grains from Patna to Pandu.
Inland vessel MV Lal Bahadur Shastri carrying 200 Metric Ton of food grains belonging to Food Corporation of India was flagged off from Inland Water Terminal Gaighat Patna today. This is the first food grain movement on this Inland Water Transport (IWT) route. The 25-30 days voyage will be an integrated IWT movement via National Waterway-1 (river Ganga), NW-97 (Sunderbans), Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route and NW-2 (river Brahmaputra). While on the voyage from Patna to Pandu (Guwahati), the vessel Lal Bahadur Shastri will traverse through Bhagalpur, Manihari, Sahibganj, Farakka, Tribeni, Kolkata, Haldia, Hemnagar, Khulna, NarayanganjSirajganj, Chilmari, Dhubri and Jogighopa. The 2350 km long route will movement is expected to establish the technical and commercial viability of IWT mode using these multiple waterways. The IWT movement is also aimed at providing a fillip to North East Region’s industrial development by opening up an alternate route for transportation of goods.
Unveiling the Foundation Stone Plaque of IWAI Terminal at Kalughat in Saran District of Bihar: The site is located on river Ganga at Saran Distrcit in Bihar (~25 km by Road from Patna main city) and the terminal is directly connected to NH 19. This terminal will be constructed at a cost of Rs. 78.28 crores. The capacity of the terminal with one berth will be 77,000 TEU per annum and the terminal has been designed to handle container traffic. The berth will be connected by approach trestles for movement of trucks, vehicles, operating and maintenance equipment. On shore facilities such as roads, drainage, sewerage, water supply, communication system will be developed as part of terminal development.
The construction of this terminal will help decongesting the jam-packed roads of North Bihar and provide an alternative route for transportation of cargo in this area specially to Nepal.