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Assam receives INR 645 cr funding for tourism infrastructure projects on Brahmaputra

 

The Shipping Ministry of India has greenlit waterways projects amounting to INR 645 crore on the Brahmaputra River in Assam. These projects, geared toward enhancing river tourism, will be executed with financial backing from the central government.

Union Minister for Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, Sarbananda Sonowal, emphasised that the new projects aim to bolster river tourism and public transportation in Assam. They will encompass the establishment of slipways at strategic locations in Dhubri and Majuli, alongside the development of new passenger terminals at Ghagor in North Lakhimpur and Bahari in Barpeta district. Additional passenger terminals are slated for Goalpara, Guijan, Kurua, Dhubri, Disangmukh, and Matmora.

“These ten projects will not only enhance transportation efficiency but also stimulate industrial development and trade in the region,” remarked Sonowal.

These initiatives fall under the Sagarmala program, which prioritises the development of the Northeastern states, including Assam. Projects totaling over INR 1,000 crore have been kickstarted under this program, with Assam alone witnessing projects worth more than INR 760 crore currently in progress.

Furthermore, the ministry plans to promote river tourism and water sports along the Brahmaputra, involving the construction of tourist jetties at various strategic locations. Sonowal highlighted the importance of the Eastern Grid development, connecting rivers like Brahmaputra and Barak with the Ganga and Sundarbans, which would enhance regional integration and trade with South and Eastern South Asia.

The development of the Eastern Grid holds vast trade potential, estimated at USD 49 billion, according to Sonowal.

The government’s investments in waterways development have yielded significant results, with 20 waterways now operational in the Northeast region compared to just one in 2014. Cargo handled via the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol route has surged by 170%, and the government is establishing the first ship repair facility worth INR 208 crore through the Hooghly-Cochin Shipyard Ltd (HCSL) at Pandu along the Brahmaputra River.

Additionally, the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol route, jointly developed by India and Bangladesh, offers an alternate connectivity route for all Northeastern states, connecting Guwahati and Jogighopa to Kolkata and Haldia ports. Development projects are underway to link the Sirajganj-Diakhowa route (175 km) on the River Jamuna and the Ashuganj-Zakiganj (295 km) segment of the River Kushiyara with the Brahmaputra and Barak rivers along NW-16.

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