In a bid to give a makeover to the 61-year-old Assam Inland Water Transport (IWT), the state government has negotiated a loan for an amount of USD 110 million successfully with the World Bank for the Assam Inland Water Transport Project (AIWTP) on November 10th, 2019.
The World Bank will assist the state government phase-wise in the project which includes procurement of new vessels including passengers carrying and Search and Rescue (SAR) vessels, up-gradation of ferry terminals, retrofitting of existing vessels, institutional capacity development etc.
The state government launched the project to improve the quality of IWT services and integrate high-quality passenger and vehicle ferry services in the Brahmaputra and Barak rivers. “The project is conceptualized to promote IWT as an eco-friendly, economic and convenient mode of transport and is aimed to help in the regional and economic development of Assam and nearby states by providing better connectivity and access to the hinterland,” a press communiqué stated.
The negotiation has been done after the Central government’s approval to the proposal of the state government seeking the World Bank’s assistance to develop the IWT system in the state. The state government has formed Assam Inland Water Transport Development Society under Transport Department to implement the project.
The negotiation was carried out in presence of Director, Department of Economic Affairs and Ministry of Finance at the Country Head office of World Bank at New Delhi. The Indian delegation on behalf of Government of Assam was represented by Virendra Mittal, State Project Director, AIWTDS; Dhrubajyoti Das, Additional Secretary, Transport Department cum Director, IWT, Assam and Rahul Chandra Das, Deputy State Project Director, AIWTDS.
Photo credit: Inland Water Transport, Govt of Assam