Nagpur: Inland Waterways is economically most viable sector and, as such, it should be an integral part of infrastructure development in the country. This was stated by Minister of Road Transport & Highways and Shipping, Nitin Gadkari in his inaugural address at the ‘National Conference on Inland Waterways: Issues, Options and Strategies’ here today. He added that development of inland waterways would lower the logistics cost of production and, in turn, make the prices of the products more competitive in the global market. Moreover, this sector has a huge potential for generating employment for the youth, he said.
Mentioning the growing enthusiasm among investors for the PPP model in road sector, Nitin Gadkari said that the possibility of applying this model in inland waterways sector is being studied. He further said that feasibility of joint ventures are also being explored as Centre and State Governments have to work together to bring this sector in the forefront of infrastructure development. Government plans to establish facilities for ship-building and ship-repairing at Guwahati, Kandla and Andaman & Nicobar in near future, he added. In the same vein, 300 Light Houses and 1100 islands would be developed as tourist hubs. He also expressed the hope that the Bill for declaration of 101 waterways as National Waterways would have the passage in the forthcoming session of the Parliament.
The day-long seminar deliberated upon issues like ‘Dredging in National Waterways’, ‘River Cruise: Options and Challenges’ and ‘Overview of Jal Marg Vikas Project’. Secretary, Ministry of Shipping Shri Rajive Kumar delivered keynote address on the occasion.