Chief Minister, Mehbooba Mufti today stressed on introduction of inland water transport in river Jhelum to boost tourism and also provide an alternate connectivity module to people.
Interacting with the visiting team of Inland Waterways Authority of India led by its Chairperson, Mrs. Nutan Guha Biswas here today, the Chief Minister said Jhelum being the nerve centre of the Valley’s socio cultural ethos, movement of people and freight through the river would re create the good old days for which the place is known for in the history. This, she said, would give a consequential boost to the tourism of the State. She asked for connecting Anantnag-Baramulla stretch as a first step for introducing water transport in the river.
The Chief Minister also asked for linking the dredging of major irrigation canals with this waterway network and also think of using this network for cargo movement at a large scale in future.
Mehbooba Mufti asked for covering Salal Dam, Sindh and Chenab rivers under inland water transport. She also asked for reviving the old navigational channels in Wullar to make the lake an attraction for water transport thereby boosting tourism in the area.
The Chairperson of Inland Waterways Authority of India, Mrs. Nutan Guha Biswas informed the Chief Minister that all steps would be taken by her organisation to make Jhelum, Ravi, Tawi, Sindh and other rivers navigable. She said these rivers would be made navigable on the pattern of canals of Kerala by improving the permanent jetties on the Jhelum river and also introducing the new concept of floating jetties.
Mrs. Biswas also informed the Chief Minister that a Consultant for the purpose is being appointed by her organisation shortly after which the process of DPR formulation and start of work would be initiated. She said during her visit to Kashmir she would be holding discussions with the concerned Deputy Commissioners and also travelling herself through Jhelum river.
On the occasion, Mrs. Biswas presented a copy of Feasibility Report for Inland Water transport in river Jhelum to the Chief Minister.
Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Rohit Kansal; Secretary, PHE, Irrigation & Flood Control, Saurabh Bhagat; officers of the IWAI; Chief Engineer, Irrigation & Flood Control and other officers were present on the occasion.