Chairperson Inland Waterways Authority Nutan Guha Biswas today said that the state has a huge potential in inland water transport and once the sector is linked with rich culture and traditional commerce, people will develop a stake in it leading to its huge success.
The chairperson was speaking at a meeting with Chief Secretary, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Director Tourism, Chief Engineers, NGOs and other officials. Deputy Commissioners of various districts across the state also participated in the meeting via video conferencing.
While giving details, the chairperson said that Jammu and Kashmir has a privilege of having four National Waterways out of total 111 National Waterways in the entire country. She said that the most prestigious Jhelum Highway will be a game changer for enhancing connectivity in the Kashmir division and it can be done through better coordination between various central and state departments.
The Chief Secretary said that the government is fully committed for reviving the inland water transport and it will supplement the existing road infrastructure and ease the traffic congestion. He said that besides movement of people, the water transport will also increase efficiently of agriculture and horticulture produce from orchards and field along the rivers. He said that State will provide full cooperation in the revival of the water transport across the state.
While commenting on a presentation made by State Convener INTACH Salim Beigh, the chairperson said that Jhelum river has helped in evolution of a glorious civilization along its banks. She said that major handcraft industry, beautiful heritage buildings, religious tourism and other aspects of culture are interwoven with Jhelum. She asked for incorporating inputs from INTACH and creating such a project wherein people develop a stake in the water transport. Beigh said that restoration of banks, facade treatment of heritage buildings, creation of public spaces and other such initiatives can be can taken up with minimal cost and provide ample opportunities to people. He also called for a strong legal framework to preserve the waterways.
The Chairperson said that other National Waterways in the state on the river Ravi, Indus and Chenab have equally huge strategic, economic and cultural value and will be exploited in a phased manner. She also shared a copy of a Report on Inland Water transport with the Chief Secretary.