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Inland waterways can be transportation game-changer: Gadkari

Nitin Gadkari

Vijayawada (AP) : Government is setting up 30 water ports on the Ganga as inland waterways will be a “game- changer” for increasing exports and reducing cost of goods as well as passenger traffic, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today.

“National highway is very important. But waterways are most important. In China 47 per cent of goods and passenger traffic is on water. In Korea and Japan, 43 and 44 per cent of goods and passenger traffic is on water. In European countries…40 per cent of goods and passenger traffic is on water. In India, it is only 3.5 per cent,” he said.

The cost of travelling by water is substantially less compared to travelling by road or train, said the Minister of Road Transport and Highways.

“Going by road, the cost for example is Rs 1.50 (per km); by railway, it is one rupee and going by water, it is only 25 paise… We have already started the work on Ganga, from Varanasi to Haldia… We are making 30 water ports,” he said.

Waterways, with use of LNG as fuel, would reduce logistics cost, said Gadkari, who also holds the Shipping Ministry portfolio.

“I feel this a game-changer. We can increase our exports, we can reduce the production cost because logistic cost will be less…. Our vision is to use LNG as fuel,” he said.

Gadkari was speaking after laying the foundation stone for a crucial fly-over near Goddess Durga temple here.

Observing that a survey is going on to start waterways in the Buckingham canal involving Krishna and Godavari rivers in Andhra Pradesh, he said the Centre is ready to help the state in making the project possible before the end of next December.

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