Modi inaugurates National Waterway 1 Ganga, Rs 760-Crore Ring Road

The National Waterway-1 is being developed by the Inland Waterways Authority of India to enable commercial navigation of vessels and promote inland waterways as a cheap and environment-friendly means of transportation


Lucknow/Varanasi, Nov. 12: Come Election time and every poll candidate returns to his constituency bearing sops and gifts. So why would the Indian Prime Minister be left behind? On Monday Prime Minister Narendra Modi returned to his constituency Varanasi to inaugurate an inland port on the Ganga as part of his government’s push to develop inland waterways.

The multi-modal waterways terminal will allow for navigation of large vessels starting on the river between Varanasi and Haldia in West Bengal. The project was unveiled as the Prime Minister received India’s first container vessel that sailed from Kolkata on the inland waterway on October 30, carrying cargo belonging to food and beverage giant PepsiCo India.

MV Rabindranath Tagore the vessel carried 16 containers, (equivalent to 16 truckloads)  on its inaugural journey. The vessel will make its return journey with fertilizers belonging to IFFCO that will be procured from its Phulpur plant near Allahabad.

The National Waterway-1 (Haldia-Varanasi stretch) is being developed by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI). It will enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1500-2,000 DWT.

The objective of the project is to promote inland waterways as a cheap and environment-friendly means of transportation, especially for cargo movement.

The project is being developed with technical assistance and investment support from the World Bank. The total estimated cost of the project is Rs. 5,369.18 crore, which will be shared between the Centre and the World Bank on a 50:50 ratio.

The project entails construction of three multi-modal terminals (Varanasi, Sahibganj and Haldia), two inter-modal terminals and five roll-on-roll-off (Ro-Ro) terminal pairs.

The Prime Minister also inaugurated two major national highways in his parliamentary constituency. The 16.55-km Varanasi Ring Road Phase-I has been completed at a cost of Rs 759.36 crore, while the four-laning and construction of 17.25-km-long Babatpur-Varanasi Road on NH-56 has cost Rs 812.59 crore, said a statement from the PM’s office.

The Babatpur Airport Highway will link Varanasi to the airport and go on to link Jaunpur, Sultanpur and Lucknow. With the flyover at Harhua and a road over bridge (ROB) at Tarna, the new road plan will reduce travel time from Varanasi to the airport, providing relief to the locals and tourists coming here, the statement said.

The Ring Road, with two ROBs and a flyover, is expected to reduce traffic, fuel usage and pollution on NH 56 (Lucknow-Varanasi), NH 233 (Azamgarh-Varanasi), NH 29 (Gorakhpur-Varanasi) and Ayodhya-Varanasi highway, the statement said.

Further, the ring road is expected to provide smooth road access to Sarnath, a renowned Buddhist pilgrimage site.

UP Governor Ram Naik, Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping, Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari and UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath accompanied PM Modi at the function.

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