Eternal rivers like Ganga, Yamuna, Narmada, Godavari, Krishna or Cauvery Crisscross India with bubbling energy and watercolor reminding the joyous ways of billion ways of living. Our old epics have eulogized their presence by adequate coverage in ample measure by describing the emotions of our hero persons while living near these mighty rivers. While trying to merge with the globalization of our excellence, it is time to look at their forgotten potential as economic means to reach our set goals.
I am proud to cover an excellent consultant’s study from Inland Waterways Authority of India, Ministry of Shipping, headed by an intellectual, respected Nitin Gadkari, our honorable minister.
The relevant web site with the study by RITES, one of the top consultants of Indian corporates.
INTEGRATED NATIONAL WATERWAYS TRANSPORTATION GRID (NWT)
(CONSULTATION DOCUMENT) – RITES, an internationally reputed Indian consultant.
Let us learn the wisest counsel’s sane information and advice.
Let me preamble it with its terms of reference for deeper understanding:
“All the national waterways were studied independently by different technical/expert groups during different periods of time, adopting different approaches, to assess their technical and financial viability before declaring different stretches as National waterways.
With a view to overcome time variations of the studies as well as to update the traffic estimates IWAI entrusted RITES Ltd., a study with the limited scope “for developing Integrated National Transportation Grid and identifying Specific Projects for Private Investment for the development of Inland Water Transport System in the Country, with the following terms of reference.
Terms of Reference (TOR)
I am sure you have understood the above. But if not, let me concise it as identifying inland waterways for multi-modal transportation, identifying cost for usage, and also identify projects for public-private partnership.
At various periods and over decades, various expert agencies pertained to different base years for traffic estimation, projection period and inter-modal costs were engaged and also gave their reports. But to consider them at all at some base year work was undertaken by the consultant.
It is important to know this basic fact before we proceed further:
We are yet to know the National Waterways Systems, identified in our nation.
1. River Ganga from Haldia to Allahabad 1620 KMs in length
2. River Brahmaputra from Dhubri to Sadiya 891 KMs in length
3. West Coast Canal from Kottapuram to Kollam with Udyogmandal & Champakara Canals 205 KMs in length
4. Kakinada – Puducherry stretch of canals with River Godavari and River Krishna 1078 KMs in length
5. East Coast Canal with River Brahmani and River Mahanandi’s delta 588 KMs in length
6. Barak river between Lakhipur and Bhanga 121 KMs in length.
What business potential these waterways portray as on date?
I would note the information like:
The important point to note regarding national waterways grid is that although, all the declared waterway systems cannot be joined to form a national waterway grid, four out of the six national waterways can form a grid in the Eastern Region of the country i.e. NW-1 can be connected to NW-2 and NW-6 using protocol route through Bangladesh.
The study further goes on to give the reason why IWT is preferable?
It has quoted “Comparative intermodal costs are one of the visible decision-making tools for the users. Intermodal comparative costs are given in “Report of the Inter-Ministerial Committee to Identify New Areas of Private Investment in the Inland Waterways Transport (IWT) Sector” Planning Commission, (Transport Division), 30th November 2012, an overall advantage of IWT vis-à-vis other modes have been worked out. In the current exercise, to encourage and promote dependence on the IWT services tax exemption has been considered. Comparative intermodal costs Rs/TKm considered are given as under:
|Mode||VOC/Freight (Rs/TKm)||Taxes||Total Rs/TKm|
I am not inclined to give too much information from the report since the above data confirms my feeling and internal anguish that IWT is the cheapest means of transportation and our state governments have yet to understand the utility of inter river transport in a multi-modal system to harness country’s available potential in transportation.
However, I would love to quote the consultant’s conclusions/recommendations for our consideration.
Based on the foregoing analysis, the following have been concluded:
Now, let us have the expert’s recommendations as well for a clear understanding of the subject. How to proceed?
Or in a nutshell, I can say that please utilize seriously IWT as the means of transport without any more delay.
Though I have been privileged to explain the expert study of RITES, one of the top consultants in the world on IWT, let me probe what has been done by the ministry concerned?
I can proudly say that “THE INLAND VESSELS BILL, 2020” is ready and reproduced for your knowledge.
In a chorus, I am happy to note that it has been implemented on 28th April 2020.
Some basic features of the bill are:
to promote economical and safe transportation and trade through inland waters, to bring uniformity in the application of the law relating to inland waterways and navigation within the country, to provide for the safety of navigation, protection of life and cargo, and prevention of pollution that may be caused by the use or navigation of inland vessels, to ensure transparency and accountability of administration of inland water transportation, to strengthen procedures governing the inland vessels, their construction, survey, registration, manning, navigation and such other matters connected therewith or incidental thereto. BE it enacted by Parliament in the Seventy-Fifth Year of the Republic of India as follows:”
The purpose of this article, my 100th in taxguru.in is to talk about something about which we hardly realize its value, i.e., water transport and its utility to remove pollution, roadblocks and easy facilitation of movement not only for goods but also for me to move from New Delhi to Chennai all routes by rivers only.
These views are purely personal and neither taxguru.in nor any other government agency is responsible.
I am thankful to the management of taxguru.in for having allowed me to publish 100 articles so far. I have also been motivated by my family members, particularly, my grandson, Mr. Rohan Karunakar who has started penning his thoughts.