"Bill for declaration of 101 waterways as NWs would be introduced in the current session of Parliament," Gadkari said addressing a meeting of Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the Ministry of Shipping here on Thursday.

Development of waterways found feasible for navigation would commence from 2016-17, he said, adding that multi-modal hubs - as proposed at Varanasi and Sahibganj - would boost industry, employment generation and GDP growth.

According to an official statement, the Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping also said that there is a proposal to establish a multi-modal grid with road and, where possible, with rail and port connectivity with river terminals on the existing NWs and Barak river.
Government has already approved the Jal Marg Vikas (NW-I) which is a component of this grid.
Gadkari highlighted several initiatives taken by his ministry to develop coastal shipping such as green channel clearance, priority berthing, dedicated coastal berths, and 70 percent abatement on service tax.

Presenting the profile of Vision 2020 for coastal shipping in India, he said that development of cruise and coastal tourism would be brought into focus.
At present, there are 12 major ports -- Kandla, Mumbai, JNPT, Marmugao, New Mangalore, Cochin, Chennai, Ennore, VO Chidambarnar, Visakhapatnam, Paradip and Kolkata (including Haldia) -- in India.

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