The Centre intends to promote Inland Water Transport (IWT) in the country and has so far declared 5 inland waterways as National Waterways (NWs) :
The Minister of State for Shipping, Pon Radhakrishnan has recently replied to a query in the Rajya Sabha as mentioned below:
First three waterways out of five have already been developed substantially with fairway of required depth & width, navigational aids & terminal facilities for loading/unloading of cargo & ingress/ egress of the passengers and cargo & passenger vessels are moving on these NWs. A World Bank aided project for capacity augmentation of NW-1 has been sanctioned and it is under implementation. Development of remaining two NWs through Gross Budgetary Support (GBS) has been initiated and a few projects are under implementation. Simultaneously, studies to assess if some stretches of National Waterway - 4&5 can be developed in PPP mode is in advance stage.
For liaison with State Governments for acquisition of land for widening of channel, setting up of terminal facilities, dumping the dredged material etc. and also for monitoring of various developmental activities, Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI)’s offices have been opened at Chennai & Vijayawada on NW- 4 and at Bhubaneswar on NW- 5.
For declaration of 101 more inland waterways as national waterways, a Bill was introduced in the Budget Session of the Parliament in 2015. The Bill was referred to the Department-related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism & Culture for examination. Based on the recommendations of the Committee and the State Governments, a note has been sent for declaring 106 more inland waterways as national waterways for consideration of the Cabinet. After obtaining the Cabinet approval, “Official Amendments” to the National Waterways Bill, 2015 will be moved.