India is a land blessed with numerous rivers and the people have always worshipped these rivers in the acknowledgement of the bounty they provide. However, any option to use perennial rivers had never been explored that is until BJP pursued Inland waterways as a means having great potential after coming into power.
The Modi led BJP government completed the development of National Waterways -1 that runs between Kolkata and Varanasi. On October 30, the union minister for Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water resources, Nitin Gadkari did the honours of flagging off the first cargo container proving the fact that BJP pursued Inland waterways actively.
This first container will move on the National Waterway-1 proving testimony to the fact that BJP pursued Inland waterways and will be shipping sixteen containers carrying food and snacks manufactured by PepsiCo India. These containers are being transported by a vessel called MV RN Tagore named after the Nobel Prize-winning poet. This vessel is scheduled to reach Varanasi in ten days and on its return journey will be carrying fertilizers from IFFCO’s Phulpur plant and will be delivering it to Prayagraj.
The reason why inland waterways are important.
Movement of cargo via inland waterways is a meagre 0.5 per cent in India compared to more than eight per cent in China and the United States. Transportation via inland waterways is considered to be cheaper, fuel efficient and environment-friendly; this is the reason why BJP pursued Inland waterways and promoted its more active use.
India ranks amongst the largest importers of fuels required for automotive purposes in the world. This pushes the rise in the import bills of the country. Use of inland waterways will help bring down these import bills as this mode of transportation is more fuel efficient. This method will help use India’s rich rivers to their full capacity.