The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 3 January 2017 approved the implementation of the Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) for capacity augmentation of navigation on National Waterway-1 (NW-1).
The project will be implemented at a cost of Rs 5369.18 crore with the technical assistance and investment support of the World Bank. It is expected to be completed by March 2023.
The project will cover states including Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal and major districts such as Varanasi, Ghazipur, Ballia, Buxar, Chhapra, Vaishali, Patna, Begusarai, Khagaria, Munger, Bhagalpur, Sahibganj, Musrhidabad, Pakur, Hoogly and Kolkata.
• The project will contribute in bringing down the logistics cost in the country.
• It will pave way for an alternative mode of transport that will be environment-friendly and cost-effective.
• It will lead to major infrastructure development like multi-modal and inter-modal terminals, Roll on - Roll off (Ro-Ro) facilities, ferry services and navigation aids.
• Socio-economically, the development and operations of NW-1 will generate direct employment of almost 46,000.
• The vessel construction industry will help general indirect employment of 84,000.
The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development will be providing a loan worth Rs 2512 crore.
The Union Government will provide funds amounting to Rs 2556 crore, which will be sourced from the budgetary allocation and proceeds from bond issuance.
The Private sector under the public-private partnership model will provide funding worth Rs 301 crore.
• One of the major problems for a commercially viable and safe navigation on NW-1 is low depth upstream of Farakka Barrage due to low discharges from tributaries and difficult hydro morphological characteristics of river Ganga.
• A pilot study on the Allahabad-Ghazipur stretch was commissioned by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) to find solutions to this problem.
• Based on the findings of this study, a proposal for the development of NW-1 at an estimated cost of Rs 4200 crore (US$ 700 million) was taken up for seeking technical assistance and investment support from the World Bank to the tune of US$ 350 million in three Phases.
• Finance Minister announced JMVP in his Budget Speech in July 2014, to enable commercial navigation of at least 1500 tonnes vessels in Ganga.