Infrastructure created at a cost of Rs 284 crore for three of the National Waterways has remained underutilised, government auditor CAG said on Friday. Reviewing the status of utilisation of infrastructure facilities of Inland Waterways, in its report tabled in Parliament on Friday, the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) said: “Infrastructure created at National Waterways 1, 2 and 3 at a cost of Rs 284.20 crore remained underutilised”. About the National Waterways 3 in Kerala it said it could not be fully navigable even after 23 years despite huge expenditure on infrastructure.
“Despite incurring an expenditure of Rs 95.43 crore, the NW-3 could not become fully navigable even after lapse of 23 years of its declaration as National Waterways,” it said.
West Coast canal from Kollam to Kottapuram (168 km) alongwith Champakara (14 km) and Udyogmandal canals (23 km) in Kerala was declared as NW 3 in February 1993. About NW 2 in Assam, it said there has been underutilisation of low and high level jetties at Pandu. Audit observed that the cargo movement from both the jetties together during 2010-15 was only 314 MT which indicates that the infrastructure created at a cost of Rs 81.76 crore remained substantially underutilised in the absence of cargo movement.
Also there has been underutilisation of broad gauge railway siding and alternate road at Pandu Terminal. Likewise, it said infrastructure of NW 1 on Ganga too remained underutilised.
“Infrastructure created at a cost of Rs 57.83 crore remained significantly underutilised” on NW 1, the CAG said. Five of the river-stretches, which have been declared as National Waterways, include Allahabad-Haldia on Ganga (1,620 km), Brahmaputra’s Dhubri-Sadiya (891 km), West Coast Canal Kottapuram-Kollam (205 km), Kakinada-Puducherry canals (1,078 km) and East Coast Canal integrated with Brahmani river and Mahanadi delta rivers (588 km).
Earlier this year, Parliament gave nod to a bill to convert 111 more rivers across the country into National Waterways, a move that would boost movement of goods and passengers via rivers and expectedly reduce the transportation costs substantially.