Cabinet approves waterway project on Ganga

Ganga river

New Delhi, Jan 3  The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Wednesday approved Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) for capacity augmentation of navigation on National Waterway-1’s (Ganga river) 1,380-km Haldia-Varanasi stretch.

According to a cabinet communique, the Rs 5,369 crore project, which is expected to be completed by March 2023, will bring down the logistic cost in the country and lead to major infrastructure development like multi-modal and inter-modal terminals, roll on-roll off (Ro-Ro) facilities, ferry services, and navigation aids.

The JMVP will create an alternative mode of transport that will be “environment friendly and cost effective” and generate “huge” employment, it said.

“NW-1 development & operations will lead to direct employment generation to the tune of 46,000 and indirect employment of 84,000 will be generated by vessel construction industry,” said the release.

The World Bank has provided technical assistance and financial support to the project, which will cover states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley had announced the JMVP in his July 2014 Budget speech to enable commercial navigation of at least 1,500 tonnes vessels in Ganga.

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has pledged a loan of $375 million (Rs 2, 512 crore) for the project while the Indian government will incur expenses of Rs 2,556 crore – to be sourced from budgetary allocation and proceeds from bond issue.

Private sector participation in the project under Public-Private Partnership mode will be Rs 301 crore.