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NW2 & NW1 Connected via IBP Route: India Completes 1st Voyage, MV Lal Bahadur Shastri with Foodgrains from Patna docks at Pandu

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Brahmaputra (NW2) gets connected with Ganga (NW1) via Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route

On 6th March 2022, Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Himanta Biswa Sarma, Chief Minister(CM) of Assam received the self-propelled vessel MV Lal Bahadur Shastri, carrying a total of 200 MT of foodgrains for the Food Corporation of India (FCI), which completed the maiden pilot run from Patna to Pandu via Bangladesh, in Guwahati, Assam. 

Route of the maiden voyage:  The MV Lal Bahadur Shastri set sail from Patna on National Waterway-1(NW1) (river Ganga) and passed through Bhagalpur, Manihari, Sahibganj, Farakka, Tribeni, Kolkata, Haldia, Hemnagar; Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) Route through Khulna, Narayanganj, Sirajganj, Chilmari and National Waterway-2(NW2) (river Brahmaputra) through Dhubri, and Jogighopa covering a distance of 2350 km. 

Key Points:

i.Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is planning to run a fixed schedule sailing between NW1 and NW2, heralding a new age of inland water transport for Assam and Northeast India.

ii.The Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT) signed between India and Bangladesh enables the transportation of cargo service through Bangladesh’s waterways. 

iii.The development of Sirajganj-Daikhowa and Ashuganj-Zakiganj, the two stretches of the IPB route, is expected to provide seamless navigation to the North Eastern Region (NER) via the IBP route.

Additional info:

i.The contracts for dredging on the two stretches for providing and maintaining the requisite depth for a period of 7 years, from 2019 to 2026, are underway. 

ii.IBP route no.5 & 6 i.e. Rajshahi-Godagari- Dhulian from Maia near Farakka in India to Aricha in Bangladesh, will reduce the IWT distance connecting NW1 to NW2 by around 1000 km. 

iii.The Government of India (GoI) has undertaken the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) with an investment of about Rs. 4600 crore for the capacity augmentation of NW1 for the safe and sustainable movement of vessels upto 2000 tonnes.

Other Cargo Vessels Carrying Foodgrains & TMT bars for 1st time:

  • On 17th February 2022, MV Ram Prasad Bismil which set sail from Haldia, West Bengal, with two barges Kalpana Chawla and APJ Abdul Kalam is on the way to Pandu. The vessel carrying 1800MT Tata steel has already reached Bangladesh Border at Dhubri.
  • The Over Dimensional Cargo (ODC) of 252 MT of Numaligarh Bio-refinery reached Silghat in Assam on 15th February 2022 from Haldia through Inland water transport (IWT) via IBP route. 
  • Another ODC 250MT consignment is also on the way to Silghat,Assam.

Recent Related News:

The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways(MoPSW) has sanctioned Rs 24.53 crore for dredging Gomati, a transboundary river between India and Bangladesh, and setting up 10 jetties for a waterway project to Boost Indo-Bangla Waterway Project.

About Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI):

IWAI under the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, was established in the year 1986.
Chairman– Sanjay Bandopadhyaya
Headquarters– Noida,Uttar Pradesh