Varanasi to become business hub through Inland Waterways under PM Gati Shakti Scheme

The government of India has pushed the boundary to make inland waterways a sustainable, cost-effective, hassle-free means of transportation under ‘PM Gati Shakti Multimodal Waterways Summit 2022 in the spiritual city of Varanasi.

Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, Hon’ble Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Government of India inaugurated seven community jetties in the presence of Shri Yogi Adityanath, Hon’ble Chief Minister, Uttar Pradesh and other dignitaries.

Shri Sonowal and Shri Adityanath also laid the foundation stone of eight more jetties on the river Ganga in Uttar Pradesh. A host of dignitaries from including Shri Daya Shankar Singh, Hon’ble Minister of State, Independent Charge, Transport, Govt. of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Shantanu Thakur, Hon’ble Minister of State, Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Shri Shripad Naik, Hon’ble Minister of State, Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Shri Mahendra Nath Pandey, Hon’ble Minister for Heavy Industry, top leadership team from IWAI and representatives from the state government were present at the event.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Sonowal said that under the visionary leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, work is being done for development from Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Ladakh to Arunachal Pradesh under the policy of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’.

He said that from waterways, to railways, to air transport, to highways, the country is progressing in every field and in the next 25 years India will be a self-reliant country, as envisioned by the Hon’ble Prime Minister.

Shri Sonowal said: “Under the visionary leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is implementing policies that would enable creation of world-class infrastructure. The Hon’ble Prime Minister emphasis on developing national waterways that has unleashed strong economic multipliers encompassing logistics, trade, city infrastructure, water supplies and tourism is an exemplification of this vision”.

Shri Sonowal further said that “The Pradhan Mantri Gati Shakti Summit 2022 will pave the way forward for enhanced and coordinated efforts towards comprehensive development of waterways led transport & logistics sector in the country”.

He added that active waterways, when used for regular logistics and passenger travel, necessarily creates landing and loading/unloading points on the banks of the rivers. This makes large areas of the hinterland accessible to the routes of trade and commerce, making goods from these areas part of the national and global supply chain network, opening up new markets for everyone—from farmers to craftspeople to factories.

Shri Sonowal said that the focus on “port-led development” is central to this vision to create seamless multi-modal connectivity for movement of people and cargo, with focus on removing barriers to last mile connectivity, emblematic of the Prime Minister’s Atmanirbhar and Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’ vision”.

On this occasion, the Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Shri Yogi Adityanath said that not only will Uttar Pradesh benefit from the help of PM Gati Shakti Yojana, but the entire country will develop.

“Many schemes have been implemented under the able leadership of Prime Minister, which is realizing the dream of Ek Bharat Shreshtha. I thank the Prime Minister that such a beautiful gift has been given to Varanasi. This will help in easing the traffic from Varanasi to other places in the country. It will also help exports of agricultural and other products from Uttar Pradesh, which is a landlocked state, to efficiently reach sea ports through the inland waterways,” Shri Adityanath said.

The Spiritual City of India is all set to receive the most advanced Hydrogen Fuel Cell Catamaran Vessels, announced Shri Sarbananda Sonowal in the presence of leading dignitaries. The city will get one Hydrogen Fuel Cell Vessel and four Electric Hybrid Vessels for Varanasi. An MoU was signed between the Inland Waterways Authority of India and Cochin Shipyard Limited during the event.

Under the Jal Marg Vikas Project -II (JMVP-II), also known as Arth Ganga, IWAI is developing/upgrading 62 small community jetties along the river Ganga. These include 15 in Uttar Pradesh, 21 in Bihar, 3 in Jharkhand and 23 in West Bengal.

In UP, jetties are being developed on a 250 km stretch between Varanasi and Ballia. The jetties equipped with all passenger and administrative amenities will enable the movement of freight and passengers across the river resulting in time and cost savings.

Operational jetties can boost small-scale industries, enhance the region’s cultural heritage, and generate employment opportunities that benefit communities. The focus on the development of inland waterways will help standardise development and operation, leading to better facilities and improvement in livelihood for local communities.

The new initiative is in line with the policies of the Government of India and proactive measures taken by the Uttar Pradesh government. Under the guidance of the Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and Hon’ble Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, the Swacchata Abhiyan is being percolated in all spheres and gamuts of life and business activities.

With its inherent advantage of being low-cost and environment-friendly, inland waterways transportation will now pave the way for reducing the uses of fossil fuel by introducing ZERO EMISSION HYDROGEN FUEL CELL PASSENGER CATAMARAN VESSEL IN KASHI (VARANASI).

The Government of India, through IWAI, has assigned this project to Cochin Shipyard Ltd, Kochi, which has recently delivered the country’s first indigenous Air Craft Carrier.

According to the MoU between IWAI and CSL, the design and development of the Zero Emission 100 pax Hydrogen Fuel Cell Passenger Catamaran Vessel will be undertaken by CSL in collaboration with M/s KPIT, Pune. The catamaran vessel will be deployed at Varanasi after test and trial at Kochi. Based on the success of this Project, the technology can be adopted for greening of, cargo vessels, small country crafts etc. enabling significant reduction in pollution levels in the National Waterways.

CSL will also build 8 Hybrid electric Catamaran vessels as per the MoU. The project was approved by the central government at a cost of Rs.130 crores. The vessels with a capacity of 50 pax will be deployed in Varanasi, Ayodhya, Mathura-Vrindavan and Guwahati.


List of jetties launched in UP:

Location of jetty District
1.      Assighat/ St. Ravidas Ghat Varanasi
2.      Kaithy Varanasi
3.      Ramnagar Varanasi
4.      Collector Ghat Ghazipur
5.      Shivpur Ballia
6.      Ujjiyarghat Ballia
7.      Baluaghat Chandauli


List of jetties in UP for which Bhoomipujan conducted:

Location of jetty District
1.      Rajghat Varanasi
2.      Chochakpur Ghazipur
3.      Dungurpur Ghazipur
4.      Saidpur Ghazipur
5.      Zamania Ghazipur
6.      Steamerghat Ghazipur
7.      Kanspur Ballia
8.      Majhoua Ballia

Salient Features of Hydrogen Fuel Cell Catamaran:

  • Zero Emission Water Taxi
  • CO2 emission reduction – 250 MT annually/vessel
  • Designed for short-distance commute in riverine waters.
  • Powered by hydrogen Fuel Cell and LiFePO4 Batteries
  • Optimized hull form
  • Designed to Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) standards
  • Enhanced passenger comfort and ergonomics
  • Air-conditioned seating space for 100 Passengers
  • Large windows for excellent panoramic view

Salient Features of Electric Hybrid Vessel

  • Designed for short-distance commute in riverine waters.
  • Powered by LTO Batteries
  • Optimized hull form
  • Fast charging capability
  • Designed to Indian Register of Shipping (IRS) standards
  • Enhanced passenger comfort and ergonomics
  • Air-conditioned seating space for 50 Passengers
  • Large windows for excellent panoramic view
  • On-board accommodation for Crew
  • Toilet and Washroom for passengers
  • Diesel OBM for emergency.
  • CO2 emission reduction – 200 MT annually/vessel

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