Environment Ministry and inland waterways body diered on clearances
India’s longest waterway project, one terminal of which was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi earlier this week, was made possible only after a highpower Committee of Ministers and senior officials from multiple Ministries overruled the recommendations of experts appointed by the Environment Ministry. The latter had recommended public consultations and a full edged environment clearance, documents made available through the Right to Information (RTI) Act show.
As part of the the Modi government’s ambitious plan to make stretches of the 2,500kmlong Ganga suitable for transporting containers, it decided to make navigable a 1,390km stretch of the river between Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Haldia in West Bengal. The project entails construction of 3 multimodal terminals (Varanasi, Sahibganj and Haldia); 2 intermodal terminals; 5 Roll On–Roll O (RoRo) terminal pairs; a new navigation lock at Farakka; assured depth dredging; an integrated vessel repair and maintenance facility; a Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS); a River Information System (RIS); and ‘river training’ and river conservancy works.
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November 18, 2018