weighing the option of constructing a tunnel under the Hooghly
river to facilitate container truck movement from one bank to
another, a move that will help decongest the city roads, an
Buoyed by the success of underwater tunnelling work
for East-West Metro corridor, the KoPT, rechristened as the
Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port, is planning to appoint a
consultant to conduct a feasibility study for building a
similar structure under the river, he said.
"It is just an idea as I saw such tunnels in Antwerp
port (in Belgium). So we are appointing a consultant to look
into it," the port''s chairman Vinit Kumar told PTI.
This could potentially free city roads of 700-800
trucks daily, he said.
Trucks that trudge through Garden Reach Circular Road,
Kidderpore Road, Hastings and Vidyasagar Setu, also known as
the Second Hooghly Bridge, causing traffic snarls and
pollution could cross the river via an underwater tunnel then
head to the destination from the opposite bank in Howrah.
The port authorities are also exploring RoRo (roll on,
roll off) ferry services to facilitate movement of trucks by
avoiding city traffic, he said.
Asked whether the current COVID-19 outbreak has
impacted the port activities, he said, "Eight pilots tested
positive for the disease in a day last week and overall 180
cases have been detected among port employees and support
workers. We have not stopped operations for a single day as it
causes inconvenience to port users."
Meanwhile, speaking at a seminar organised by CII,
Shipping Minister Mansukh Mandaviya said the Centre has waived
off waterways charges.
The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) had
levied the waterway usage charges at a rate of Rs 0.02 per
gross registered tonnage (GRT) per km for inland cargo ships
and Rs 0.05 for cruise vessels on national waterways. PTI BSM