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BW Businessworld

Water Water Everywhere...

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The 2014-15 budget announced a number initiatives for river development from beautification to water transport. The 1,620-km Ganga inland waterway development from Haridwar to Haldia has been set a deadline for six years at a cost of Rs 4,200 crore.  To be called Jal Marg Vikas project on river Ganga connecting Allahabad to Haldia is being showcased as a BJP government brain child, but it is not.

In 1980s 5 waterways were identified across the country, which till date are utilising under one per cent of their estimated potential. From 1986 till 2012 an insignificant sum of Rs 886 crores was spent on NW 1, 2 and 3 and Rs 150 crore on schemes and subsidies. Under the 11th five year plan IWAI spent Rs 560.48 crores bringing the total expenditure in 25 years of its creation close to 1200 crores. The 12th plan Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) proposed to spend close to 15,00 crores – 300 crores over what it has managed to spend in 25 years... Two years into the plan period we are yet to see any fruits of this investment.

Unfortunately this is not an encouraging sign for any future investors. As reported by BW, the inland water ways have largely failed despite huge potential. Read more: 'State Of The Nation: Waterways'. One hope that the new government with its promises of good governance will be able to by-pass hurdles while ensuring implementation and optimal fund utilisation on the river front.