Waterways development in North-East India hailed to bring better trade, investment and employment

The Waterways Conclave commenced in Dibrugarh, Assam on Monday and the Union Minister for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), G Kishan Reddy addressed the Conclave virtually. He said that development of waterways was essential to take advantage of the immense potential of the eight North Eastern states of India.

Waterways can truly prove to be the engine of growth that will bring more investment into the region, generate employment opportunities.”

G Kishan Reddy

The Minister said that the PM Gati Shakti will create a connectivity hub in the North East region as the Brahmaputra river will ensure swift cargo movement to and from it. Cargo movement via inland waterways in the North East will also be more sustainable and relatively cheaper than other modes of transportation. Along with Waterways, the Masterplan also focuses on development of road and rail connectivity in the region.

Reddy highlighted the various initiatives being undertaken to enhance waterways connectivity in the region and expressed confidence that it will add a new chapter in the growth story of the region.

The waterways can also be used to trade connection to other neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and also play a critical role in furthering the objectives of the Act East Policy. The Act East Policy is to promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop a strategic relationship with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, through continuous engagement at bilateral, regional, and multilateral levels, thereby, providing enhanced connectivity to the States of North Eastern Region.

Bangladesh’s State Minister of Shipping, Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury also addressed the Conclave virtually and said that there are 700 rivers in Bangladesh, out of which 54 are along the boundary between Bangladesh and India. He said that around 8,480 kilometres of navigable waterways could be utilised for transportation and distribution of goods between Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Bhutan.

The regular movement of cargo through waterways would create job opportunities and open the international market for local products through cost-effective transport.”

Himanta Biswa Sarma, Assam Chief Minister

Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said an attempt must be made to achieve as high a share of the waterways sector as possible in the logistics mix, comprising rail, road, and waterways in the country.

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