Sahibganj: Opening the gates to Eastern India


Located in a serene setting within the state of Jharkhand, Sahibganj is emerging as a potential logistics hub to look out for. Together with the recently inaugurated Multi-modal logistics hub, it is vested with immense potential to transform into an economic powerhouse by facilitating the transportation of essential products and important transactions with India’s neighbouring countries. We explore how Sahibganj can serve as the logistics entreé to the east.

A scenic town flanked by lush hills and the beauty of the Ganges, close to the infamous Siliguri corridor, the quiet town of Sahibganj is bustling with the noise of new advancements made towards establishing it as a potential hub of the east.

Maintained by the municipality of Sahebganj district of Jharkhand state, India, the area serves as the district headquarters for Sahibganj District. It will soon prove to be a crucial part in economy—in moving goods, fuel and people throughout the region, with efficiency and ease.

Sahibganj has immense potential to act a transit-hub for the movement of goods, energy and people to and from east India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh.

The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) took cognisance of the strategically located town and went on to build India’s second riverine Multi Modal terminal (MMT) at Sahibganj district, which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2019.

The multi modal transport hub combining rail, road and water that is being built here is a part of the government’s effort to bolster and develop National Waterway 1, i.e. the Gangetic stretch between Haldia to Allahabad. An L&T team from Chennai built the terminal at a cost of INR 290 crore.

Together with rail and a new road network, the multi modal transport hub will function as a gateway to the industries of North-east states, Jharkhand and Bihar along with providing Indo-Nepal cargo connectivity through the waterways route. 

The hub will have a paramount role to play in facilitating seamless transportation of domestic coal, oil tankers, stone chips, fertilisers, cement and sugar along National Waterway-1 (NW1).

Sahibganj has been chosen in NITI Aayog’s ‘The Transformation of Aspirational Districts Program’- aimed at transforming 117 districts identified from across 28 state, in a data-based manner.

This initiative by NITI Aayog looks into highlighting the strengths of each district, and identifying areas for immediate improvement. It ranks the select districts with live public data in champions of change (CoC) portal.

The results also speak in favour of the potential that the area has. The district achieved overall No.1 delta rank (most improvement) for two consecutive months in January and February this year. Percentage of low birth weight babies reduced from 8.78 to 5.03 percent in one year from March-2018 to March-2019.  

Sahibganj ranks 11th in Agriculture improvement and work-shops for financial literacy are gaining lot of voluntary attendance, especially after everyone in the district got their bank accounts. With just 53 percent literacy, it has a five-star rated school with model parliament in a tribal village.

The region, however, has its share of challenges to overcome. To bolster a district like Sahibganj, which is one of the poorest in the country, into becoming an economic powerhouse, it has yet to overcome a host of challenges on its path.

For the town of Sahibganj, skill development still remains a challenge. The possibility of creating an economic hub is incomplete in the absence of the availability of high volume of skilled workers.

While a lot remains to be done especially when it comes to improving network access, literacy and building robust last mile connectivity, should the town manage to take up the challenge and utilise its unrealised potential, it will do wonders.

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