Prime Minister Narendra Modi will dedicate the newly constructed Multi-Modal Terminal (MMT) on River Ganga in Varanasi to the nation on November 12. This is the first of the three Multi-Modal Terminals being constructed on the river. Two other Terminals are also being constructed in Sahibganj and Haldia respectively.
The MMTs are a part of the government’s Jal Marg Vikas project (JMVP) that aims to develop the stretch between Varanasi to Haldia (West Bengal) for navigation of large vessels weighing up to 1500-2000 tonnes. The objective behind the scheme is to promote inland waterways, primarily for cargo movement.
The JMVP is being implemented with the technical assistance and investment support of the World Bank, at an estimated cost of Rs. 5,369 crores on a 50:50 sharing basis between Government of India and the World Bank.
The Multi-Modal Terminal project on River Ganga was started in June 2016 and holds the terminal capacity of 1.26 MPTA. The terminal project that spreads across 33.34 hectares of land, comprises of a Jetty (200m length x 42m width), two mobile harbour cranes, approach and internal roads, stone pitching works, bank protection and a Shell structure of ancillary and worker amenity building that are ready for operations. The terminal project in Varanasi is built at a cost of Rs 206 crores.
Inland Waterways Authority of India or IWAI that came into existence on 27th October 1986, primarily for the development and regulation of inland waterways for shipping and navigation is the project Implementing Agency for the project.
The operation, management and further development of the MMT’s are proposed to be consigned to an operator on Public-private partnership (PPP) model, whose selection would occur through an international competitive bidding, which is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
The MMT project and proposed freight village in Varanasi are expected to generate 500 direct employment and more than 2000 indirect employment opportunities.
India has about 14,500 km of navigable waterways which include rivers, canals, backwaters, creeks, etc.