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Centre Committed To Invest In Inland Waterways Infrastructure:Sonowal

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of  'Transformation via Transportation' has emphasised on the importance to rejuvenate the rich and complex inter web of riverine system to act as an effective alternative mode of communication for both cargo and passenger traffic, Sonowal said. 

Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal
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Union Ports, Shipping and Waterways Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday said that the Centre was committed to invest in the infrastructure related to inland waterways to ensure smooth conduit for transportation and unlock the economic potential of the interior parts of the country.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of  'Transformation via Transportation' has emphasised on the importance to rejuvenate the rich and complex inter web of riverine system to act as an effective alternative mode of communication for both cargo and passenger traffic, Sonowal said. 

He said while participating in the stakeholders meeting aimed at unlocking the Export Import (EXIM) trade potential of Dhubri port here which was also attended by business groups from Bangladesh and Bhutan.

''It has been established that inland waterways are the most cost effective, efficient, environment friendly mode of modern transportation. By investing in the infrastructure to ensure smooth conduit via inland waterways, we are committed to unlock the value and economic potential of the interior parts of India'', he said. 

Dhubri, with its rich history as a thriving river port, is poised to unlock huge value and after ''our discussion with trade stakeholders from Bhutan, Bangladesh and India, we have our task cut out. I assure you that all their needs and concerns will be satisfied in a time bound manner so that the optimum potential of Dhubri port can be realised'', Sonowal said. 

''I have come to Dhubri on the directive of our prime minister as he is very much invested in the thought of unlocking the trade potential of this region where Dhubri port plays a crucial role'', he said.  

Given the immense potential of Dhubri port,  it is also being considered to build a modern integrated office complex where offices of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping  and Waterways, Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Home Affairs will be present. 

A new warehouse as well as a new road are also being considered to be built at Dhubri port which will not only make it an attractive proposition but also allows our stakeholders an opportunity to unlock mutual growth in the region, he said. 

''Given our network of riverine system, the Modi government identified as many as 21 rivers of Northeast as National Waterways. For optimum utilisation and unlocking tremendous value from this unique opportunity, our government remains deeply committed to invest and improve our infrastructure and provide a conducive environment for all our stakeholders to secure mutual growth and development'', he said.

During the meeting, the stakeholders highlighted various issues and opportunities pertaining to the Dhubri Port and these included enhancement capacity of weigh bridge, installation of moveable conveyor, exploring business 24X7 for swift movement of heavy vehicles, dredging needs especially during dry season for smooth passage of vessels, and digitisation of the customs process.

Organised by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), the meeting was also attended by its Chairman Sanjay Bandopadhyay, senior officials of IWAI, Assam government officials of Inland Waterways Transport along with stakeholders and business groups from Bangladesh and Bhutan.

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