'PM Gati Shakti Multimodal Waterways Summit 2022' got underway in Varanasi recently. The two-day event aims to make inland waterways a sustainable, cost-effective and hassle-free means of transportation.
Organised by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), the summit aims at taking a deep dive into the PM Gati Shakti NMP, its components and their significance as encompassing engines of economic growth.
Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal inaugurated seven community jetties in the presence of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath and other dignitaries.
They also laid the foundation stone of eight more jetties on the river Ganga in Uttar Pradesh.
Speaking at the event, Sonowal said: "Government of India has taken important steps to improve the logistics system. Our economy will not be strong unless the logistics system is improved. The government is speeding up projects and schemes through the logistic policy. Today every state is moving forward on the path of development because of this policy."
The union minister said that from waterways, to railways, to air transport, to highways, the country is progressing in every field and in the next 25 years, India will be a self-reliant country.
"Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is implementing policies that would enable creation of world-class infrastructure. The Prime Minister emphasis on developing national waterways that has unleashed strong economic multipliers encompassing logistics, trade, city infrastructure, water supplies and tourism is an exemplification of this vision," he said.
Sonowal further said that "The Pradhan Mantri Gati Shakti Summit 2022 will pave the way forward for enhanced and coordinated efforts towards comprehensive development of waterways led transport & logistics sector in the country."
He added that active waterways, when used for regular logistics and passenger travel, necessarily creates landing and loading/unloading points on the banks of the rivers. This makes large areas of the hinterland accessible to the routes of trade and commerce, making goods from these areas part of the national and global supply chain network, opening up new markets for everyone--from farmers to craftspeople to factories.
Sonowal said that the focus on "port-led development" is central to this vision to create seamless multi-modal connectivity for movement of people and cargo, with focus on removing barriers to last-mile connectivity, emblematic of the Prime Minister's Atmanirbhar and Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat' vision".
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said that not only will Uttar Pradesh benefit from the help of PM Gati Shakti Yojana, but the entire country will develop.
"Many schemes have been implemented under the able leadership of Prime Minister, which is realizing the dream of Ek Bharat Shreshtha. I thank the Prime Minister that such a beautiful gift has been given to Varanasi. This will help in easing the traffic from Varanasi to other places in the country. It will also help exports of agricultural and other products from Uttar Pradesh, which is a landlocked state, to efficiently reach seaports through the inland waterways," Adityanath said.
Varanasi is all set to receive the most advanced Hydrogen Fuel Cell Catamaran Vessels, announced Sarbananda Sonowal in the presence of leading dignitaries. The city will get one Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vessel and four Electric Hybrid Vessels for Varanasi.
An MoU was signed between the Inland Waterways Authority of India and Cochin Shipyard Limited during the event.
Under the Jal Marg Vikas Project -II (JMVP-II), also known as Arth Ganga, IWAI is developing/upgrading 62 small community jetties along the river Ganga. These include 15 in Uttar Pradesh, 21 in Bihar, 3 in Jharkhand and 23 in West Bengal.
In UP, jetties are being developed on a 250 km stretch between Varanasi and Ballia. The jetties equipped with all passenger and administrative amenities will enable the movement of freight and passengers across the river resulting in time and cost savings.
Operational jetties can boost small-scale industries, enhance the region's cultural heritage, and generate employment opportunities that benefit communities.
The focus on the development of inland waterways will help standardise development and operation, leading to better facilities and improvement in livelihood for local communities.
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