Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) signed a project agreement with the World Bank on 2nd February 2018, even as the latter entered into a US $ 375 million loan agreement with the Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance for Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP).
The signing of the Agreement follows the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, for the implementation of the US $ 800 million JMVP for capacity augmentation of navigation on National Waterway-1(River Ganga) from Varanasi to Haldia. Out of the remaining amount, US $ 380 million is to be sourced through the Government of India counterpart funds from budgetary allocation and proceeds from the bond issue. Another US $ 45 million will come from private sector participation under the PPP mode.
The Jal Marg Vikas Project, which is expected to be completed by March, 2023, is being implemented with the financial and technical support of the World Bank. The Jal Marg Vikas Project will enable commercial navigation of vessels with the capacity of 1500-2,000 tons on NW-I.
The development and operations of the National Waterway-1 project will lead to direct employment generation to the tune of 46,000 and indirect employment of 84,000 in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal. The Jal Marg Vikas Project includes development of fairway, Multi-Modal Terminals at Varanasi, Haldia and Sahibganj, strengthening the river navigation system, conservancy works, modern River Information System (RIS), Digital Global Positioning System (DGPS), night navigation facilities, modern methods of channel marking, construction of a new state-of-the-art navigational lock at Farakka etc.
The Jal Marg Vikas Project will result in an environment-friendly, fuel-efficient and cost-effective alternative mode of transportation, especially for bulk goods, hazardous goods and over-dimensional cargo. The National Waterway-1 along with proposed Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor and National Highway-2, constitutes the Eastern Transport Corridor of India connecting the National Capital Region (NCR) with the eastern and north-eastern states and will function as a link to Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Nepal and other east and south-east Asian countries through the Kolkata Port and Indo- Bangladesh Protocol Route.