Virendra Singh Rawat
After expanding the air transport network in the landlocked state, the Uttar Pradesh government is now looking to develop inland waterways for both passenger and cargo movement.
Inland waterways primarily leverage the river network for intrastate and interstate mobility to cut down on fuel and operational costs.
Upping the ante, chief minister Yogi Adityanath has now directed officials for the institution of a UP Inland Waterways Authority to take the agenda forward.
The Authority will be set up after studying the functioning of the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and such entities in other states.
While the National Waterway from Prayagraj (UP) to Haldia (West Bengal) is already operational, there are immense possibilities for both passenger and cargo transportation in inland waterways, he underlined.
It will function as a nodal agency coordinating with the IWAI, and regulate all activities related to inland waterway transport and tourism.
Moreover, it will ensure compliance with environmental and safety laws related to water transportation, as well as take responsibility for conducting hydrographic surveys and inspections for the development and better utilisation of waterways.
“The Authority should study and analyse data related to inland waterway traffic. Scientific researches should be conducted on inland water transportation, tourism, shipping and navigation activities. Technical training for stakeholders and officials involved in inland water transportation should be provided,” the CM noted.
While the UP transport minister will be appointed as the ex-officio chairman of the UP Inland Waterway Authority, a seasoned expert with extensive experience in the field will be anointed as the deputy chairman and the UP transport commissioner designated as the CEO.
Senior officials from the departments of finance, culture, irrigation and forestry will be inducted as members of the Authority.
The CM observed UP has a rich tradition of water transportation. “There was a time when the princess of Ayodhya traveled through waterways to South Korea…However, in course of time, the sector was neglected.”
He stressed the need for concrete efforts to promote the creation and development of waterways and to utilise them for transport.