Guwahati: Work has begun for national waterways along the Brahmaputra and Barak rivers and cargo and passenger ships from Assam and the northeast will be connected to Haldia in West Bengal via Bangladesh, Union minister Sarbananda Sonowal said on Saturday.
Speaking at the ‘Brahmaputra River Conclave’ at the ongoing Northeast Festival here, he said transformation through transportation is the idea behind the revamping of national waterways as means of communication.
“Work has already begun to pave way for national waterways (Brahmaputra and Barak) to facilitate movement of cargo ships. Cargo and passenger ships from Assam and the northeast will be connected to Haldia via Bangladesh. The work of dredging has already begun,” the Union ports, shipping and waterways minister said.
He added that coastal and maritime shipping will get a boost with opening up of the northeastern markets.
Sonowal also said that “we must not limit ourselves to the Brahmaputra. We must go beyond and develop waterways through other rivers like Aie, Dhansiri, Manas etc.”
He spoke about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to develop the northeastern region.
“All the eight states must come together and work towards the region’s development,” he urged.
Director of Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) A Selvakumar made a presentation on measures taken for revamping river networks in the northeast.
Rituparna Baruah, director of Assam Tourism Development Corporation Ltd, and Lakshya Konwar, vice president of Sports Authority of Assam and general secretary of Assam Olympic Association, were also present at the conclave.
The three-day Northeast festival was inaugurated by Assam Governor Jagdish Mukhi on Friday. It is being held at Radisson Blu here with necessary Covid protocols and only double-vaccinated people are being allowed. —PTI