Foodgrains to move through inland waterways from Patna to Guwahati and the north east

Union Food and Consumer Affairs Minister Piyush Goyal said the pilot movement of foodgrains on vessel through inland waterways from Patna in Bihar to Pandu in Guwahati is an important step to connect eastern and North-East parts of the country. He said the 2,350 km voyage will open a new gate to the ‘Gateway of North East’ and ensure seamless waterways connectivity to North East Region through Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers, according to a food ministry statement.

The minister was 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), according to an official statement.

Inland vessel carrying 200 tonnes of food grains belonging to the Food Corporation of India (FCI) was flagged off from Inland Water Terminal Gaighat, Patna. 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).

Both the Deputy Chief Ministers of Bihar, Members of Parliament Ravi Shankar Prasad, Sushil Kumar Modi and Rajeev Pratap Rudy were also present. Khalid Mohammed. Chaudhary, Minister of Shipping, Bangladesh also attended the event virtually.

Goyal stated that the planned intermodal terminal at Kalughat, Bihar at Rs 78 crore cost will provide boost to region’s socio-economic development and 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, the minister said. Goyal said this route from Patna can prove to be a viable alternative to the conventional mode of movement of foodgrains & goods for North-East region.

The minister informed that for seamless navigation to north-east region, two stretches of the IBP route are being developed with Bangladesh with a budget of Rs 305 crore. He informed that the government has undertaken Jal Marg Vikas Project with Rs 4,600 crore for capacity augmentation of NW-1 (Ganga) for safe movement of vessels upto 2,000 tonnes.

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