At least five rivers of Gujarat — including Mahi, Narmada, Sabarmati and Tapi that flow into the Gulf of Khambhat — are being explored for inland water transport under the National Waterway Act, 2016.
According to information shared by Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of State for Shipping, Chemical & Fertilisers and Road Transport & Highways, Thursday, five rivers in Gujarat (includes Jawai-Luni rivers that flow into the Rann of Kutch) have been declared as National Waterways under the 2016 Act that proposes to develop 111 waterways across the country for shipping and navigation.
Detailed Project Reports (DPRs) for over 1,100 kilometers of four of these rivers are currently being prepared. These DPRs are for 436 km on River Tapi (National Waterway-100) from Hathnur dam in Maharashtra to the Gulf of Khambhat, 212 km on the Sabarmati (National Waterway -87) from Sadholiya to the Gulf, 227 km on Narmada (National Waterway-73) from Pandhariya (near Gujarat-Maharashtra border) and 248 km on Mahi (National Waterway-66) from Kadana dam to the mouth of the river.
Meanwhile, feasibility study is in progress for Jawai-Luni rivers (National Waterway 48) that originate in the Aravalli ranges in Rajasthan, but ends in the marshes of Rann of Kutch in Gujarat.
The length of the waterway — about 324 km — of this river system falls in the Rann of Kutch. The consultant appointed by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) in January 2016 has completed the study for this river in Rajasthan. However, they are still awaiting the nod from the home department in Gujarat to begin the study in the state. The permission is being sought as the region lies close to the Indo-Pakistan border.
The Union cabinet meeting, chaired by PM Narendra Modi in December 2015, had included 106 additional waterways to the existing list of five national waterways. The IWAI is undertaking the techno-economic feasibility studies for each of these waterways to identify feasible stretches of the rivers that can be developed for shipping and navigation.