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Government must develop inland waterways

Transportation of goods within the country has largely been through railways and by road through trucks. Now, our government is rightly laying emphasis on transporting goods through the rivers. Here, a collaborative approach will bear better fruits and transportation will go on smoothly if we integrate road transport with inland water transport. Governments ( states and central) should work on this approach by actively bringing both together. We need to design and build such water craft which can work in shallow draft. One such system could be using outboard thrusters with engines mounted aft of the craft on main deck and operated by say, CNG. Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari said that developing inland waterways was the priority of the central government. He also added that the government has earmarked 101 important rivers in the country” to develop a network of waterways on the lines of national highways. A bill in this regard has already been drafted and it is likely to get its nod in the next session of the parliament.

Our ministry has to remain watchful. Whenever new things are announced, some greedy people try to gate crash claiming expertise about it. They are only interested in garnering power and position only. The government must ask them, what is their sailing experience? Norwegians are very capable in maritime technology like the Japanese. The government must not lose time in seeking their active involvement. They will guide and supervise the local work force.

The government has to select and impart training to the local youth. It is not right to hire adequately qualified and certified people as they will demand more salary, work less which will only increase hiring costs. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had visited Dantewada and interacted with the youth. Impart training to local boys and girls for operating water craft and self-unloaders etc; the implements connected with loading and unloading the water craft.

We always think of IAS and IPS but ignore imparting skills to the local youth for employment locally. Even there are reports that some IAS officers were sent on deputation to America but they don’t want to return now. Government must ask them to return and post them in Gadchiroli or Dantewada for promoting the development of backward regions of the country. It must be clearly visualized that Inland Water Transport (IWT) will be successful only if the state governments take interest, keeping it low cost, high performance venture, rather difficult to achieve but most certainly can be done through persistent effort and persuasion.

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