With its objective of providing safe, environment friendly and economical mode of transportation through National Waterway-1 (NW-1), the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has signed a contract with DST, Germany to design vessels, especially suited to navigate the 1,620 km stretch of NW-1.
Speaking on the occasion, a senior IWAI official said that it was a revolutionary step and a milestone in the journey of NW-1. “The objective of IWAI is to go along with nature and disturb the river minimally. The specially designed vessels will navigate on low drafts and will be of high carrying capacity, and most importantly, will be environment friendly,” he said.
Considering the expected growth of the Inland Waterways sector in India, DST Germany is expected to develop a combination of standardised vessels to meet the requirement of various types of cargo. One of the most important navigational challenges for NW-1 is the kind of vessels that will play on the Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly stretch. Keeping in view the difficult hydro-morphological characteristics of the river in the upper reaches between Patna and Varanasi, it is important to have vessels which can ply on low draft, with high carrying capacity, and are economically viable and environment friendly.
Earlier in August 2016, Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari flagged off the trial run of two cargo vessels from Varanasi on NW-1(River Ganga). Keeping in view the demand for transportation of cars through NW-1, DST, Germany, has been initially tasked to develop low-draft vessels that can carry up to 150-200 vehicles.