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National Waterways Bill, 2015 approved by Cabinet

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Union Cabinet has given its approval to carry out official amendments in “The National Waterways Bill, 2015”. The amendments are based on the recommendations of the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture and comments of State Governments.

  • It provides for enacting a Central Legislation to declare 106 additional inland waterways as the national waterways by which the total number of NW goes upto 111 from existing 5.
  • Union Government is empowered to make laws on shipping and navigation on national waterways as per Entry 24 of the Union List of the 7th Schedule of the Constitution.

National Waterways Bill, 2015 approved by CabinetBenefits to the State
The declaration of these National Waterways would enable Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) to develop the feasible stretches for Shipping and Navigation.

  • The right over the use of water, river bed and the appurtenant land will remain with the State Government.
  • Other benefits to states include fewer accidents, less congestion on roads, cheaper mode of ferrying passengers, reduced logistics costs in cargo movement and development of adjoining areas.

Background
Inland Water Transport is considered as the most cost effective and economical mode of transport from the point of view of fuel efficiency. As per World bank Study:

  • One horse power can carry 4000 Kg load in water whereas it can carry 150 Kg and 500 Kg by road and rail respectively.
  • 1 litre of fuel can move 105 ton-Km by inland water transport whereas the same amount of fuel can move only 85 ton-Km by rail and 24 ton-Km by road.

Existing National waterways
NW – 1: Allahabad–Haldia stretch of the Ganges–Bhagirathi–Hooghly river
NW – 2: Sadiya–Dhubri stretch of the Brahmaputra river
NW – 3: Kollam–Kottapuram stretch of West Coast Canal and Champakara and Udyogmandal canals
NW – 4: Kakinada–Pondicherry stretch of canals and Kaluvelly tank, Bhadrachalam–Rajahmundry stretch of River Godavari and Wazirabad–Vijayawada stretch of River Krishna
NW – 5: Talcher–Dhamra stretch of rivers, Geonkhali–Charbatia stretch of East Coast Canal, Charbatia–Dhamra stretch of Matai river and Mahanadi delta rivers