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Move to improve river link in Assam
Published on 17 Jan. 2010 11:57 PM IST
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The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has deployed three more dredgers on the Brahmaputra National Waterway 2 to improve the least available depth for safe movement of over-dimensional cargo to Neamati, Dibrugarh and Sadiya by next year. The move is aimed at maintaining the least available depth of 2.5 metres up to Neamati and 2 metres up to Dibrugarh and Sadiya. The least available depth is the most critical parameter for safe, smooth and timely movement of over-dimensional cargo. “A lot of importance is being given to safe movement of over-dimensional cargo and for this, measures like dredging are being given top priority,” a senior official of the IWAI said. Of the three new dredgers, two are cutter section dredgers and one is a hydraulic section dredger. The movement of over-dimensional cargo is a specialised activity, which entails months of preparation. Based on the weight, size and load of the cargo, operators have to design the vessels, make arrangements for loading and unloading and determine the timing of its movement on the waterway. The official said based on the draft requirements, the cargo operators could plan the movement of over-dimensional cargo. The IWAI is organising a workshop at the World Trade Centre in Mumbai on Monday to bring power project companies and cargo movers together to deliberate on the smooth movement of cargo for hydroelectric projects coming up in the Northeast. Senior officials of Union shipping ministry and experts are expected to attend the workshop. B.K. Chaturvedi, a member of the Planning Commission, will be the chief guest. The workshop is expected to boost the IWAI’s efforts to promote inland water transport, which is an eco-friendly, fuel-efficient and cost-effective mode of transport. The official said as the IWAI had made substantial investment in developing the waterway, it had decided to levy a consolidated fee of Rs 1.50 per tonne per km for over-dimensional cargo movement from this year. Under the new arrangement, the IWAI will sign an MoU with the operators before the movement of cargo and take steps to maintain the least available depth in the entire stretch apart from providing other services.

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