The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has revised the cargo handling target to 100 million tonne (MT) on national waterways by 2021-22, as against its earlier estimation of 150 MT, an official said.
The Centre declared 106 national waterways in 2016 in addition to the existing five, taking India’s total navigable inland waterways to 20,000 km.
“According to the latest projection, traffic on national waterways is expected to increase from 72 MT in 2018 -19 to 100 MT by FY22,” a senior IWAI official told.
Earlier this year, the IWAI had stated that about 55 MT of cargo was handled on national waterways in 2017-18 and given the trend, the 150 MT target for 2021-22 was likely to be achieved before the deadline.
The traffic on national waterway one (NW-1), which is the Haldia-Varanasi stretch on the Ganga, grew from 5.48 MT in 2017-18 to 6.79 MT in 2018-19, the official said.
However, industry players were optimistic but cautious on success of cargo movement of the national waterways.
“So much had been done by the government for development of national waterways. But, banks are still not forthcoming about financing assets like vessels for deployment on these waterways, saying that it is non-viable,” a city based logistics operator PDP Group chairman Pramod Srivastava had said recently.