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PM Modi to receive India’s first container vessel on inland waterways in Varanasi

In a major push to India’s inland waterways transportation sector, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will receive a large container vessel travelled for the first time on inland waterways NW-1 Ganga at the newly developed Multi-modal Terminal in Varanasi on November 12. The Prime Minister will also dedicate the port to the nation on the occasion.

India now has about 14,500 km of navigable waterways which comprise of rivers, canals, backwaters, and creeks.

The new vessels that will be ferrying cargo on the routes are capable of operating in shallow water with a depth of 2-3 meters. This will make waterways a viable alternative to road and rail transport.

"These vessels will need only 2-3 metres of depth and 45-metre wide water channel. One such vessel with 2000 tonnes capacity will remove nearly 140 truckloads of pressure from the road. Once developed, inland waterways will significantly decongest the highways across the country," an official claimed.

Keeping in view the difficult characteristics of River Ganga in the upper reaches between Patna and Varanasi, it is important to have vessels that can ply on low depth, with high carrying capacity, and are economically viable and environmentally friendly," officials said.

The feasibility of water-based transportation in and around Delhi would also be examined as such specification of the vessels is also suitable for river Yamuna which has high silt deposit.

This is also crucial for decongestion of the national capital where several experiments have failed to yield results. According to IWAI sources, these vessels could also be manufactured in India as part of the Make in India initiative.

On Friday the Prime Minister had announced a host of sops for the ailing Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector including approval for loans up to Rs 1 crore within 59 minutes with 2 per cent interest subvention.

Making 12 major announcements ahead of the upcoming Assembly and Lok Sabha polls, he also promised them freedom from harassment by government officials - be it in terms of inspections, getting clearances for businesses or minor violations under the Companies Act.

He said now the establishments to be visited by an inspector would be decided through a computerized random allotment and that an entrepreneur would no longer have to approach the court for minor violations as the government had issued an ordinance to that effect.

Source: India Today

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