News: The first ever container cargo consignment will sail on National Waterway-2 from Haldia Dock Complex (HDC) to the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) terminal at Pandu in Guwahati on 4 November, 2019.
About National waterways in India
- As per the National Waterways Act, 2016, 111 have been declared as National Waterways (NW). These waterways pass through 24 states and two union territories, with an approximate total length of 20274 km
- The Ganga – Bhagirathi – Hooghly river system between Haldia (Sagar) and Allahabad (1620 km) was declared as National Waterway-1 (NW-1) in 1986.
- National Waterway-2: National Waterway 2 (NW-2) 891km long stretch in Brahmaputra River extending from Sadiya to the Dhubri near Bangladesh border in Assam.
Inland Waterways Authority of India
- Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is responsible for development and regulation of inland waterways for shipping and navigation.
- The Authority primarily undertakes projects for development and maintenance of IWT infrastructure on national waterways through grant received from Ministry of Shipping.
- It was established in 1986 and is headquartered in Noida.
Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT):
- In 1972, India and Bangladesh signed the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWTT).
- It is an agreement between the two governments for the transportation of goods and keeping their respective waterways navigable, while providing infrastructure facilities.
The Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) Route:
- It extends from Kolkata (India) on NW-1 to Silghat (Assam) on NW-2 (River Brahmaputra) and Karimganj (Assam) on NW-16 (River Barak).
- Further, two stretches of Bangladesh inland waterways viz. Sirajganj–Daikhawa & Ashuganj-Zakiganj on the IBP route are being developed on cost sharing basis (80% being borne by India & 20% by Bangladesh). The development of these two stretches is expected to provide seamless navigation to and from North East India through waterways via the IBP route.