GUWAHATI: In a move to restore the pre independence days glory of water transportation in Northeast India, Union Finance minister, P Chidambaram in his budget 2013-14 has announced the Lakhipur - Bhanga stretch of river Barak in Assam will soon be declared as the sixth national waterway.
Presently Northeast India faces tremendous problem for not exploring its waterways. Already the move to link the South East Asian countries through Northeast India is on. Kaladan multimodal transport project to upgrade the Sittwe Port connecting Paletwa in Myanmar's Chin State to Mizoram under way would boost trade and commerce.
The minister said, "Five inland waterways have been declared as national waterways. I am happy to announce that the Minister of Water Resources will move a Bill in Parliament to declare the Lakhipur - Bhanga stretch of river Barak in Assam as the sixth national waterway. Preparatory work is underway to build a grid connecting waterways, roads and ports. The 12 th Plan has an adequate outlay for capital works, including dredging, on the national waterways.,"
He elaborated that the objective is to choose barge operators, through competitive bidding, to transport bulk cargo on the national waterways. The first transport contract has been awarded in West Bengal from Haldia to Farakka.