Modi plans to link the rivers and get companies to move cargo from foodgrains, cement and fertilizer to cars using waterways.
- India has failed to develop 14,500 kilometers (9,000 miles) of its inland waterways as a viable alternative to move cargo and ease congestion on land.
- The development of the waterways will bring opportunities for private contractors and builders for dredging, barge and terminal constructions, according to the Confederation of Indian Industry.
- Narendra Modi’s government presented legislation in May that would grant the government rights to regulate and develop 101 channels across 24 states for shipping and navigation, in addition to the existing 4,382 kilometers of five main waterways.
- The indifference is changing after NTPC Ltd, India’s biggest power producer, showed the Ganges can be used to transport coal.
- The transportation by waterways, both coastal and inland, is fuel efficient, environmentally friendly and more economical than rail or road.
- The government is trying to get long-term cargo commitments from companies including Maruti Suzuki India Ltd, the nation’s No. 1 carmaker, Fertilizer Corp. of India Ltd, Tata Chemicals Ltd and Dalmia Bharat Cement Ltd to build the business and help lure investment.
- The share of goods transported via India’s inland waterways is only 0.4%, compared with 42% in the Netherlands, 8.7% in China and more than 8% in the US.