Mansukh Mandaviya, Minister of State for Shipping (Independent Charge), Chemical, and Fertilizers on Thursday while addressing the press conference informed that with special focus on National Waterways, the cargo volume of Ganga will improve 4 folds, while the Arth Ganga project will help boost the economy.

“Waterways is one of the most important pillars of ‘Arth-Ganga’ project, which will result in inclusive growth and play a key role in the generation of enormous employment opportunities in the National Waterways stretch,” said, Mandaviya.

He further stated that, “Almost half of the Indian population lives around Ganges River belt in which about 1/5th of all India’s freight originates and 1/3rd terminates in the states around Ganges Belt.”

The previous initiative by the Ministry of Shipping has bought substantial growth in cargo from 30,00,000 MT to 70,00,000 MT, and Vessels in-flow from 300 to 700. Further to it the introduction of small jetties in the 1400km stretch of NW-1 from Banaras to Haldia turned out beneficial for the farmers, traders & general public and improves ‘Ease of living’ and ease of Doing Busines’.

Ministry of Shipping will also develop a freight village in Varanasi (Uttar Pradesh) and an Industrial Cluster-cum-Logistics Park in Sahibganj (Jharkhand) with an objective of creating synergy with Inland Waterways at the cost of Rs. 200 crores, informed Mandaviya during the conference.

Also, he said, National Waterway-1 will act as the main conduit of connection with Nepal in a trilateral manner, that is from Varanasi to Nautanwa (280 km), Kaughat to Raxaul (204 km) and Sahibganj to Biratnagar (233 km).

“Inland waterways, particularly NW-1 will be allowed under Treaty for Transit of Cargo between Government of India and Government of Nepal. It will save logistic cost and decongest Kolkata Port as well,” he said.

Earlier, Nepal was connected by Kolkata and Visakhapatnam ports for transporting cargo.