The inland water transport could emerge as an alternative mode of travel for people living along Kol and Bhakra reservoirs with the Centre declaring the Sutlej as a national waterway along with many other rivers.
Himachal has already done the spade work and a Rs 26-crore project report for launching water transport services in the Pong (Kangra), Bhakra, Kol (Bilaspur) and Chamera (Chamba) has been prepared by a consultant for the Department of Transport. A team of officials from the Union Ministry of Inland Waterways Authority of India had visited the four major water routes earlier this month.
“We will soon submit the Rs 26-crore project to the Centre with the Sutlej being declared a waterway and this will help us launch transport facility in the Bhakra and Kol Dam,” Jagdish Sharma, Principal Secretary, Transport, said.
He added that the government could also approach some other external funding agency for the launch of water transport facilities on the 30 to 40 km stretch in Kol and Bhakra dams.
Experts point out that there are several constraints like turbulent waters of the Sutlej at several places and power projects in most parts of the river which could prove to be a major hindrance for promoting water transport in a big way. Yet inland transport could save a lot of money and time and reduce travelling distance drastically.
Sharma admitted that people were using inland transport in some places but on a very small scale. “The water transport is risky and inconvenient but now with proper launch of services, jetties will be made at all boarding and take-off points, ensuring passenger safety,” he said.
Experts point out that the rising and reducing water level of the dam waters in the summer and winters pose safety issues and the fluctuating silt level can make the journey even more risky.
The task of undertaking a survey about the existing water routes at the four water bodies, potential routes, their interlinking, safety and ascertaining the suitability of the vessel to be used at the sites had been assigned to i-Maritime, a Mumbai company.
Project report prepared:
The inland water transport could emerge as an alternative mode of travel for people, A Central team had visited the four major water routes earlier this month, Inland transport can save a lot of money and time and reduce travelling distance drastically, Project report for water transport services in Pong, Bhakra, Kol, Chamera reservoirs has been prepared.