Three national waterways to become functional by 2010:Baalu

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New Delhi, Oct 23 (UNI) Union Shipping and Transport Minister T R Baalu today said the three waterways--Allahabad-Haldia, Dhubri-Sadiya and Kottapuram-Kollam--that have been declared as 'national waterways' will become operational by 2010.

He said an amount of Rs 961.64 crores has been earmarked for the development of the three waterways. A total of Rs 415 crores has already been invested during 2004-8.

Seven terminals of these waterways have already been constructed and commissioned at a cost of rs 10.32 crores, he said while giving his reply on the two national waterways Bills in the Lok Sabha.

The first Bill relates to declaring of Talcher-Dharma stretch of Brahmani-Kharsua-Dharma rivers, Geonkhali-Charbatia stretch of East Coast canal, and Charbatia-Dharma stretch of Matai river and Mahanadi Delta rivers in West Bengal and Orissa as a national waterway.

The second Bill pertains to declaring Kakinada-Puducherry stretch of canals and the Kaluvelly tank, Bhadrachalan-Rajamundry stretch of Godavari river and Waziarabad-Vijayawada stretch of Krishna river as national waterways.

Both the Bills were unanimously passed by the Lower House.

Addressing the members, Mr Baalu admitted that development of Inland Water Transport in the country has not made much headway.

Refusing to blame any party's government that had been in power over the past 22 years, he said it was a fact that the sector has been utterly neglected.

He said there were certain advantages in this mode of transport such as low cost, energy efficiency, generation of employment among weaker sections of the community and its eco-friendly nature.

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