The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the transfer of 14.86 hectares of land from Farakka Barrage Project under the Ministry of Water Resources to Inland Waterways Authority of India under the Ministry of Shipping for construction of a new navigational lock parallel to the existing navigational lock at Farakka.
The cost of the land in question is Rs 2.35 crore and the Inland Waterways Authority of India will bear this cost, the government said. “Construction of the navigational lock is a subproject of Jal Marg Vikas Project. The new lock will ensure smooth and seamless movement of vessels on NW-1,” it added.
“The works shall be planned/ executed in such a manner that the existing arrangements about sharing of Ganga water at Farakka, as per Ganga Water Treaty-1996 between India and Bangladesh, are not affected,” the government said.
With the existing lock unable to efficiently handle the number of vessels passing through it, considerable time is taken for vessels to pass the lock. Therefore, a need was felt for construction of an additional lock to facilitate easy passage of vessels. Also considered was the anticipated increase in number of vessels and volume of cargo once the Jal Marg Vikas Project is implemented.
The government further said that upgrading the existing navigational lock would be time-consuming and put the facility out of operation during the period of repair, construction of the new lock “is an inescapable option for uninterrupted movement of vessels”.
Inland Waterways Authority of India, a statutory body under the Ministry of Shipping, is the nodal authority for regulation and development of inland waterways for shipping and navigation. Building, maintaining, operating and managing the navigational locks is under its purview.