Development and Importance of National Waterways in India

To promote Inland Water Transport in the country 111 waterways (including 5 existing and 106 new) have been declared as National Waterways (NWs) under the National Waterways Act, 2016 which came into effect from 12th April, 2016. 

Bulk cargo like coal, fly-ash and iron ore are found economical & cost-effective for movement through Inland Water Transport (IWT) which is environment friendly and less pollutant mode of transport than Rail & Road.  The cargo through Inland Ship is transported in barges and there is no direct contact of the cargo with water and therefore no ecological impacts. 

Operation of Ferries is a State subject. 

Inland Water Transport mode is widely recognized as environment friendly and cost effective mode of transport.  As per RITES Report of 2014 on Integrated National Waterways Transportation Grid, some of the important benefits of  IWT mode compared to rail and road transportation arefuel efficiency and cost savings as given below:

  1. 1 Litre of fuel moves 24 tonne – km on road, 95 tonne-km on rail and 215 tonne-km on IWT.
  2. Comparative cost for movement of freight.
Freight (Rs./T.km)1.362.501.06

In addition to the economic and environmental benefits, IWT aims to create for the shippers and logistic players, an alternative to the two dominant modes of transport viz. road and rail.  

Some of the Important National Waterways are:

Sl. No.National Waterway No.Details of WaterwaysSTATES
1National Waterway 1Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly River System (Haldia – Allahabad)Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand & West Bengal
2National Waterway 2Brahmaputra River (Dhubri – Sadiya)Assam
3National Waterway 16Barak RiverAssam
4National Waterway 3West Coast Canal (Kottapuram – Kollam), Champakara and Udyogmandal CanalsKerala
5National Waterway 4Krishna River (Vijayawada – Muktyala)Andhra Pradesh
6National Waterway 5Dhamra-Paradio via Mangalagadi to PankopalOdisha
7National Waterway 8Alappuzha- Changanassery CanalKerala
8National Waterway 9Alappuzha-Kottayam – Athirampuzha CanalKerala
Alternate route: 11.5km
9National Waterway 27Cumberjua RiverGoa
10National Waterway 68Mandovi RiverGoa
11National Waterway 86Rupnarayan RiverWest Bengal
12National Waterway 97Sunderbans WaterwayWest Bengal
13National Waterway 111Zuari RiverGoa
14National Waterway 10Amba RiverMaharashtra
15National Waterway 40Ghagra RiverBihar
16National Waterway 44Ichamati RiverWest Bengal
17National Waterway 52Kali RiverKarnataka
18National Waterway 57Kopili RiverAssam
19National Waterway 25Chapora RiverGoa
20National Waterway 37Gandak RiverBihar
21National Waterway 28Dabhol Creek Vasisti RiverMaharashtra
22National Waterway 73Narmada RiverMaharashtra & Gujarat
23National Waterway 85Revadanda Creek – Kundalika River SystemMaharashtra
24National Waterway 94Sone RiverBihar
25National Waterway 100Tapi RiverMaharashtra & Gujarat

Source: PIB, PIB

Categories: POINT IAS

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