Big Opportunity

Declaration of 106 NWs presents huge scope for dredging in inland waterways

Dredging forms an important part of fair-way development. Globally, the develop-ment of fairways is primarily the responsibility of the state or a public authority. There are very few examples of fairway development projects being undertaken in the public-private partnership (PPP) mode.

In the past, the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has been undertaking dredging works departmentally and dredging works have been undertaken on the three national waterways (NWs) [NWs 1, 2 and 3]. More recently, to improve the utilisa-tion of dredgers and to undertake more dredging works, IWAI started outsourcing work to private players.

The newly declared 106 NWs present a huge opportunity for dredging. These water-ways have been divided into three categories on the basis of their economic viability and feasibility of development. Category I has been classified as the most suitable for development and has eight waterways under it. The eight rivers are the Barak in Assam, Ghaghra in Uttar Pradesh, Gandak and Kosi in Bihar, Sunderbans in West Bengal and Mandovi and Zuari in Goa. Development works on these waterways are planned to be undertaken in the current financial year.

Tenders for the development of the Barak river have already been issued. Tenders for the Ghaghra, Gandak and Kosi rivers are planned to be issued by early October 2016. Subsequently, bids will be invited for the Mandovi and Zuari rivers.

For the second and third categories, detail-ed project reports (DPRs) are being prepared. IWAI expects to receive the DPRs by January-February 2017 and float tenders during the next financial year, 2017-18.

A major ongoing project in this sector is the Jal Marg Vikas project for the development of NW 1 through World Bank assistance. Phase I of the project, covering the Haldia-Varanasi stretch, is under implementation. The World Bank is providing both technical and financial support to the project and about 50 per cent of the funds will be provided by the World Bank in the form of a loan.

As part of the Jal Marg Vikas project, three multimodal terminals are being planned, at Haldia, Varanasi and Sahibganj. The contract for the Varanasi terminal has been awarded to Afcons Infrastructure Limited, and the foundation stone for the terminal was laid in August 2016. Further, bids have been invited for the construction of a navigational lock at Farakka, West Bengal. Meanwhile, two vessels carrying newly assembled cars of Maruti Suzuki and construction materials, respectively, were flagged off from Varanasi on a trial basis.

To increase the role of the private sector in the inland waterways segment, IWAI has invited expressions of interest for the devel-opment of NWs through private sector parti-cipation and PPPs.

IWAI is taking several measures to promote inland water transport in a big way. It has signed an agreement with the Odisha government, Paradip Port Trust and Dhamra Port Company Limited for the development of NW 5 for inland cargo movement. It is also planning to sign an MoU with the Dredging Corporation of India for the technical management of its dredgers. Meanwhile, IWAI is exploring a new type of contract (assured depth) for the Farakka-Bhagalpur stretch. The assured-depth contract is one in which a lump sum is paid on the quantity of silt removed. If this contract is successful, the model will be utilised for other stretches too.

To conclude, the demand for dredging in inland waterways is expected to increase signifi-cantly in the future. The declaration of the new NWs, along will fairways and terminal develop-ment, will be the major growth drivers. w

Based on remarks by Commander

P.K. Srivastava, Hydrographic Chief, IWAI

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