From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :
Prelims level : Assam Inland Water Transport Project
Mains level : Inland water transport in India
India and the World Bank signed a loan agreement of $88 million for Assam Inland Water Transport Project.
Assam Inland Water Transport Project
- A majority of Assam’s more than 361 ferry routes cross the Brahmaputra or serve its islands, providing a crucial means of transport to thousands of commuters in both the urban and rural areas of the Brahmaputra Valley.
- The project will draw guidance from ‘working with nature’ principles that aim to design new infrastructure or rehabilitate existing infrastructure in a way that works with natural river processes.
- The terminals will have better access, lighting and signage while the new vessels will allow for individual seats, and separate toilets. Moreover, a strengthened regulatory regime will ensure reduction in overloading, adherence to time schedule and better crew standards.
- The Project will help Assam improve the passenger ferry infrastructure and its services and strengthen the capacity of the institutions running the inland water transport.
- Inland Water Transport is also a more sustainable mode of transport. And Assam has the largest network of navigable waterways in India.
- It provides low-carbon and low-cost options when compared to the cost of constructing and maintaining flood-resilient roads and bridges across the long stretches of the Brahmaputra river.
- Technically better-designed terminals and energy-efficient vessels (both new and retrofitted) will make the ferry services more sustainable with least disruption to nature.