"The World Bank indicated its readiness to support the programmatic approach with an initial loan assistance of USD 50 million including technical assistance for the first phase of the project," Indian Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) member (finance) and project Director Pravir Pandey said.

He said the exact financial support from the World Bank could only be known once the detailed project report and environmental impact studies were complete for development of the NW-1.

"The current Rs 4,700 crore project cost is just an estimate for developing the 1,620 km NW-1 stretch from Haldia to Allahabad. Investment details will get greater clarity after related reports come out" Pandey said.

Explaining the need for development of the waterway, Pandey said it would help in making the route navigable for the entire year against only for six months and increase cargo handling capacity of vessels to 1,200-1,500 Dead Weight Tonnage (DWT).

Thermal power plants, cement companies, fertilizer companies, edible oil companies and Food Corporation of India have expressed interest to use NW-1 for cheap and environmental friendly mode of cargo transport.

The project, which might run over 5-6 years would include dredging to offer three meters of draft, strengthening of open river navigation techniques, river training and conservancy, structural improvement, modern River Information System (RIS), Digital GPS, night navigation facilities and modern methods of channel marking.

The project would have terminals at Allahabad, Varanasi and Gazipur in Uttar Pradesh, Sahibganj in Bihar and Katwa in West Bengal to facilitate transshipment and movement of bulk cargo on NW-1.

The government had also brought some relaxations for promoting trans-shipment and movement of bulk cargo from sea  and transport the same through NW-1.

Latest News from State News Desk