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The Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, has unveiled a significant investment exceeding Rs 645 crores for the development of 10 waterways projects under the flagship Sagarmala Programme. These projects are set to receive full financial assistance from the central government to enhance terminals and riverine infrastructure along the river Brahmaputra (National Waterways 2), aiming to improve connectivity and stimulate economic growth.

The projects include the construction of slipways at strategic locations like Maya Ghat in Dhubri district and Majuli district, as well as the establishment of passenger terminals in various districts such as Ghagor in North Lakhimpur district and Bahari in Barpeta district. Additional passenger terminals are planned for Goalpara, Guijan, Kurua, Dhubri, Disangmukh, and Matmora, catering to the diverse transportation needs of Assam.

Emphasizing the government’s commitment to the development of the North-Eastern states, particularly Assam, projects exceeding Rs 1,000 crore have been initiated under the Sagarmala program. In Assam alone, projects exceeding Rs 760 crore are currently underway. Furthermore, efforts are underway to develop river tourism and water sports along the Brahmaputra, with plans for constructing seven tourist jetties at various locations.

With a focus on expanding port infrastructure and developing mega ports with capacities exceeding 300 and 500 million tonnes per annum, the government aims to increase the share of Inland Water Transport (IWT) to 5% by 2030 under the Maritime India Vision (MIV). The development of an Eastern Grid encompassing rivers like Brahmaputra and Barak aims to enhance regional integration and trade with South Asia and Eastern South Asia, potentially unlocking multi-lateral trade potential worth $49 billion.

Noteworthy achievements include the development of 20 waterways in NER from just one till 2014, leading to a 170% increase in cargo handled via the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol route. Additionally, the government has invested Rs 1,040 crores in waterway development, resulting in the establishment of the first Ship Repair facility in NER through Hooghly-Cochin Shipyard Limited (HCSL) at Pandu along River Brahmaputra.

Recent inaugurations include the Passenger-cum-Cargo terminal at Bogibeel near Dibrugarh, built with an investment of nearly Rs 50 crore, as well as the Inland Waterways terminal at Sonamura developed with an investment of Rs 6.91 crore. Upgraded terminals at Karimganj and Badarpur have been completed with an investment of Rs 6.40 crore. These initiatives reflect the government’s dedication to enhancing maritime infrastructure and promoting trade and commerce via the river Brahmaputra.

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