The government is likely to get assistance between Rs 4,200 crore and Rs 6,000 crore from World Bank for creation of two barrages on the Allahabad-Haldia cargo and human waterway route – one of the pet projects of the NDA government.
The pact for the fund is likely to be signed next week. The government is also formulating a cabinet note for Rs 105,000 crore investment in the national waterways projects.
Amitabh Verma, chairman, Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), said, "The World Bank has come forward to fund construction of two barrages with an estimated assistance ranging from Rs 4,200 crore to Rs 6,000 crore to enable the country conclude a proper navigation of cargo and human movements in national waterway between Allahabad and Haldia."
The exact amount of the funding will be decided next week when the top officials from both the sides will sit together and appraise the project. The officials will meet on August 3.
The Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river from Haldia to Allahabad is a 1,620 km stretch, which was declared as a national waterway in 1986. IWAI has formulated an action plan for the development of the channel. Day navigation aids will be available in entire waterway, while night navigation aids will be available between Tribeni and Farakka. Further investments will be made in providing 24 hours navigation aids with a modern GPS-based system for the entire waterway.
These waterways will also offer ship building opportunities for the private sector so as to make an optimum utilisation of the infrastructure created. IWAI will use these channels for freight movement. There are two more national waterway channels, while more are being identified.
A cabinet note is in the process of finalisation for deployment of Rs 25,000 crore from the government kitty to finance national waterways projects, and Rs 80,000 crore garnered from the private sector to accomplish the targets of building national waterways through public-private partnership.