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Sunday, 29 January 2012

Inland waterways get the boost they long needed in India

This press release says it all. Kind of proud to have been a small part here. The big part is that the champions from DG Shipping and MMD will be kept as far away as possible from this once the rules have been set. Wonderful, overall, next step - coastal shipping . . . and the big boost to East and North East India, long awaited.

PM fast tracks move on private sector investment in Inland Waterway Transport
The Prime Minister has initiated a move to fast track the development and use of Inland Waterways Transport involving the private sector and Public Sector Undertakings. The initiative will harness huge potential of inland waterways in transporting bulk cargo like coal, food grains, fertilizers, project cargo, fly ash, Over Dimensional Cargo and containers at competitive cost for the public and private sector companies. Adequate use of waterways will also ease the burden on rail and road infrastructure.

At a meeting of the inter-ministerial coordination committee Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister informed that a tripartite agreement signed between the National Thermal Power Corporation, Inland Waterways Authority of India and a private developer has led to competitive transportation rates for the NTPC while private sector investment of about Rs 650 crore has been committed. This agreement relates to the Farakka Power Project.

The following decisions were also agreed upon in the meeting:

NTPC will provide long term cargo commitment for 3 million metric tons of coal for Barh power project once all its five units are operational by 2016-17.

The execution of Coal handling facility at Jogighopa and rail connectivity will be taken up under the Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources (NLCPR) scheme.

Food Corporation of India will expeditiously provide long term cargo commitment for 3 years for transportation of foodgrains to Tripura and Assam from Kolkata and within Assam.

MEA will try to extend the period of Trade and Transit Protocol beyond March 2012 when it comes for renewal to provide longer certainty to vessel operators. Further, efforts shall be made for early completion of Ashuganj multi-modal port by Bangladesh and its regular use as a transit port.

Ministry of Shipping will consider providing additional money, if need be, to ensure night navigation facilities on Indo-Bangladesh Protocol route.

ONGC and Oil India will convey a firm commitment of cargo through IWT in two weeks to IWAI.

CONCOR will provide firm commitment for transportation of part of their container cargo from Pandu through IWT.

The progress on these decisions will be reviewed in two months time by the Principal Secretary to PM.

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