Minister for Shipping, Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, has flagged off two vessels viz., MV Joy Basudev (capacity 1,400 tons) and MV VV Giri (capacity 300 tons), containing newly assembled cars of Maruti Suzuki and construction material on 12 August, 2016 from the Aghoreshwar Bhagwan Ram Ghat Varanasi .
On the occasion, Gadkari said that it was his wish that the inland waterways transport system is inaugurated from Varanasi, the constituency of the Prime Minister. The Minister said this transport system will promote jobs to lakhs of people in Uttar Pradesh and will enable 11 power stations in the state to get timely supply of coal. He said this will reduce road traffic congestion and also cost less.
This route between Varanasi and Haldia will also join Allahabad and Kanpur in the future, he added. Gadkari said that inland waterways will be used for transporting passengers and the government was extending this facility to 111 waterways. He also said that three multimodal terminals will be created between Varanasi and Haldia, and the riverbanks will be protected. Gadkari said that Digital Global Positioning System will be installed and dredging will be done to ensure that the river is navigable throughout the year.
National Waterway-1 (NW-1) is being developed under the Jal Marg Vikas Project, with assistance from the World Bank, at an estimated cost of Rs 4,200 crore. The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1,500-2,000 DWT tonnage from Varanasi to Haldia.
NW-1 is a waterway of national significance passing through Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal, potentially serving the major cities of Haldia, Howrah, Kolkata, Bhagalpur, Patna, Ghazipur, Varanasi, Allahabad and their industrial hinterlands including several industries located along the Ganga basin. The rail and road corridors of this region are already saturated. Hence, the development of NW-1 would result in a viable economical, efficient and eco-friendly mode of transport and huge quantities of cargo can be transported, thereby helping in economic development of this region.
Later, the Minister laid the foundation stone for the multimodal terminal at Ramnagar, Varanasi. Apart from this three road projects (Varanasi-Jamur NH 56; Varanasi-Azamgarh NH 233 and Varanasi- Gazipur NH 29) were also inaugurated. Other road projects linking Varanasi were also approved.