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The Union government has drawn up an ambitious Rs 25,000-crore plan to create a national waterway grid linking Ganga, Brahmputra, Mahanadi and Godavari rivers. Nitin Gadkari, the minister for roads and shipping, has given an in-principle clearance to the eight-year project, which aims to ensure high water levels in rivers through the year, improving their role in crop irrigation and making them navigable. The waterway grid will also help control floods. The proposed grid will have road linkages to ports to facilitate faster movement of cargo. Transportation of goods on this network could lead to savings of about Rs 300 per tonne. The shipping ministry has readied cabinet notes for a coastal shipping policy aimed at cheaper and faster movement of cargo among the nine coastal states.
The Inland Waterways Authority has written to States to plan roads keeping in view waterways falling in their states.