Varanasi Poised To Emerge As Business Hub Of Eastern UP Through Inland Waterways

  • The community jetties can boost small-scale industries, enhance the region’s cultural heritage, and generate employment opportunities.

The central government is working in a mission-mode to make inland waterways a sustainable and cost-effective means of transportation for Varanasi and the Purvanchal region in Uttar Pradesh.

Furthering this vision, seven community jetties were inaugurated on National Waterway (NW)-1 (River Ganga) by Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways last week.

These jetties would boost water connectivity between Varanasi and bordering districts like Chandauli, Ghazipur and Ballia.

The jetties have been inaugurated at Ravidas Ghat, Ramnagar and Kaithi in Varanasi, Ujiyar Ghat Barauli and Shivpur in Ballia; Balua in Chandauli and Collector Ghat in Ghazipur.

Also, foundation stone was laid down for eight jetties, including five in Ghazipur, two in Ballia and one in Varanasi.

Community jetties would be of great use to farmers and traders who could now opt for waterways also to transport their goods to nearby districts.

Jetties would further help in minimising traffic congestion and also shed the load off other modes of transports.

It will also help exports of agricultural and other products from Uttar Pradesh, which is a landlocked state, to efficiently reach sea ports through the inland waterways.

National Waterway–1

In 2016, the government notified 111 inland waterways spread over 24 states as National Waterways (NWs) under the National Waterways Act, 2016.

Based on the outcome of techno-economic feasibility, 26 NWs have been found viable for cargo/passenger movement.

Currently 13 NWs including NW-1 are operational for shipping and navigation and cargo/passenger vessels are moving on them, according to the government.

National Waterway-1 is a 1,620 km waterway on River Ganga between Haldia in West Bengal and Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh, touching important cities like Kolkata and Varanasi.

Project Arth Ganga

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during the first meeting of the National Ganga Council in Kanpur on 14 December 2019, had conceptualised ‘Arth Ganga’, to energise the economic activity along the Ganga River bank.

The objectives of Arth Ganga have been aligned with the project development objectives of Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP).

JMVP is a flagship project undertaken by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) for the capacity augmentation of Haldia-Varanasi stretch of NW-1, undertaken with the technical and financial assistance of the World Bank, at an estimated cost of Rs 4,633.81 crore.

Small floating community jetties along the Ganga to boost the economic activities at the community level would be set up as part of the “Project Arth Ganga” to energise economic activity along river banks in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal.

Master Plan of Arth Ganga

Master Plan of Arth Ganga

The 60-odd jetties planned on River Ganga in the four states in the Gangetic belt, will bring down the logistics cost for farmers in the movement of local produce.

Apart from providing benefits in terms of trade and access to markets, local community’s economic enhancement and passenger facilitation, the ‘Arth Ganga’ project will also ensure large scale skills enhancement and public/private sector capability development.

62 Jetties In Pipeline

Under the JMVP-II (Arth Ganga), IWAI is developing/upgrading 62 small community jetties along the River Ganga. These include 15 in Uttar Pradesh (UP), 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.