Decks have been cleared for the revival of the old river route from Haldia in West Bengal and Pandu in Guwahati, Assam, with the contract being awarded for the development of the Haldia inland waterways terminal.
Union Shipping Minister Sarbananda Sonowal who on Monday announced the award of the contract said that Haldia Jetty would become operational soon for sending Exim and inland cargo to Pandu terminal in Guwahati connecting the northeast to Kolkata via National waterway 2.
“This will provide an alternative to chicken neck route for easy and cost-effective movement of cargo to and from northeast to the foreign countries and other states of India,” Sonowal said while interacting with various stakeholders of port and shipping industry of Kolkata and Haldia port.
Major oil PSUs, steel companies like Tata Steel and SAIL, terminal operators, shipping lines, barge operators, custom clearing agents, and land users of Syama prasad Mookerjee Port participated in the meeting with Sonowal. The minister invited all of them to be a partner in “this unique opportunity of using sea and river route combination (NW1 and NW2) via Kolkata port.”
Sonowal also informed that depth assurance contracts have been awarded to maintain NW1 and 2, and the barge operators shall soon start using these waterways as depths are assured. He said that there is thinking about providing guarantees to banks to give easy and soft funds for barges so that this sector can take off.
The stakeholders assured that they will come forward to utilise this opportunity to make this mission a success. More than 40 key players participated in the stakeholders’ conference.