World Bank to invest Rs 1000 crore in Assam

Guwahati: The age-old inland water transport system in rivers-rich Assam is set to get a major face-lift in coming days with the World Bank agreeing to invest Rs 1000 crore in the sector that has remained much neglected despite its huge potential.
The World Bank funded project is expected to infuse a new lease of life to the inland water transport system in the state which has largely remained untapped.
“With the World Bank’s expertise and technology, it would be the key driver for economic prosperity of Assam”, the minister said.
Team Leader of World Bank Atul Agarwal said, “Assam has the biggest network of river system in the country. The Brahmaputra is not only a mere river which flows but it is associated with the socio-cultural fabric of Assam. Passing through the heart of the state can be a physical barrier but it can be harnessed into an asset.”
The investment is going to be utilised for the development of jetties (ghats) on river banks. While addressing a day-long workshop on ‘International Practices in Inland River Transport & Assam Inland Water Transport Projects (AIWTP)’ was held at a city hotel on Wednesday, Assam transport minister Chandra Mohan Patowary said, “With the mighty Brahmaputra and its tributaries, Assam is blessed with immense water resources and we need to harness these resources to its optimum level. As per the Act East Policy of the Union government, the inland water channel to Bangladesh will be opened shortly to boost trade and commerce in this region.”
The Minister further stated that “Night navigation in places like Sadiya, Lakhimpur, Majuli and Guwahati will be introduced very soon to facilitate ease of movement for the people living in these places.”
As the inhabitants of river island Majuli faces problems while transporting the bodies of their near and dear ones who die during treatment in Jorhat, Minister Patowary said that the government would soon contemplate of introducing free ferry services to carry dead bodies from Jorhat to Majuli as private operators charge exorbitant fees.
He underlined the importance of introducing freight services to enhance the movement of goods and passengers and also of luxury ships in certain tourist circuits to promote eco-tourism.

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