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Scrutiny
  
Waterways
Developing water transport
28/12/2006

There’s probably no other country in the world with as many rivers, canals and lakes as India, and yet inland water transport is nearly non existent here. Only 8.9% of the rivers in India are essentially used for navigational purposes. Given the fact that the cost of developing an inland water network is less that 10% of constructing a similar multilane road link and coupled with that fact that India has more than 14,500 km navigable waterways, it is incredulous that all that we have done is to have some paperwork on its potential. An Asian Development Bank Technical Assistance Report had further stated on waterways, “It is also more fuel efficient since it is estimated that one liter of water can move 24 ton-km of freight by road, 85 ton-km by rail and 105 ton-km by inland water transport.” Though quite a few waterways have been declared national waterways, what essentially needs to be done is to create a viable regulatory authority and allow private operators to run inter-state/city water transport services; the government also needs to complement this with a major dredging operation to bring our clogged water ways to navigable shape. Though such dredging operations won’t be cheap, yet the savings in terms of fuel can more than justify the spending.

By:- BE Edit Bureau
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