Indian Transport & Logistics

Parliament passes bill to develop 111 rivers as transport routes

Parliament passes bill to develop 111 rivers as transport routes

The Parliament has given its assent for a bill to convert 111 rivers across the country into National Waterways, a move that would boost movement of goods and passengers via rivers and expectedly reduce the transportation costs substantially.

The National Waterways Bill was passed by the Rajya Sabha. The Lok Sabha had approved the bill last year. The bill provides for enacting a central legislation to declare 106 additional inland waterways as the national waterways in addition to five existing national waterways.

"The declaration of National Waterways does not restrict the rights of state governments in any way. It only facilitates Government of India in developing the waterway for shipping and navigation. It will not infringe upon their rights on minerals and water etc," said Nitin Gadkari, minister for road transport and highways and shipping, Government of India.

Justifying the measure, he regretted that the waterways had taken a backseat in India, with only 3.5 percent of trade being done through the mode here as against 47 percent in China, 40 percent in Europe, 44 percent in Japan and Korea and 35 percent in Bangladesh.

He said work has picked up regarding strengthening of the existing five National Waterways and once it gains momentum, it would revolutionise the water transport in the country.

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