New Delhi: A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) and the Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India (DFCCIL) here today for creation of logistic hubs with rail connectivity at Varanasi and other places on National Waterways. The MoU was signed in the presence of Minister of Shipping and Road Transport & Highways Shri Nitin Gadkari and Minister of Railways Shri Suresh Prabhu. The joint development of state-of-the-art logistics hubs at Varanasi and other places would lead to convergence of inland waterways with rail and road connectivity. This would provide a seamless, efficient and cost effective cargo transportation solution.
As per the MoU, IWAI and DFCCIL will collaborate for the project and also facilitate business development in the hinterland and its feeder routes. To begin with, IWAI and DFCCIL will work jointly to provide rail connectivity to the proposed inland waterway terminal at Varanasi to make it a logistics hub, with the vision of developing similar facilities at other strategic locations on the other National Waterways and dedicated Freight Corridors.
Speaking on the occasion Shri Nitin Gadkari said that the MoU is yet another step towards turning the ‘Make-in-India’ vision into a reality. As the Dedicated Freight Corridor is a game changer, the synergy between the Ministries of Railways and Shipping would provide a boost to the development of multi-modal logistics terminals along National Waterways, he added. The Minister also underlined his Ministry’s initiative to convert 101 rivers into inland waterways. “Waterways has gained a lot importance for transportation of goods worldwide and I feel that we are lagging behind in that aspect. We can transport goods through waterways at one-fifth the cost compared to roads. Integration of roads, highways and waterways will create jobs,” Minister of Shipping Nitin Gadkari said here.
The minister said that the land acquisition process for the proposed terminal is underway. “In three month will request Prime Minister Narendra Modi to lay foundation stone after the completion of land acquisition process at the site, Gadkari said.
Describing the signing of MoU as a ‘landmark event’, Minister of Railways, Shri Suresh Prabhu said this initiative would connect each part of the country as one country. It is the result of realising the huge potential for water connectivity in the country, he added. He further said that this environment friendly and cost effective measure would be a boon for landlocked states.
DFCCIL and IWAI will set up a Coordination Group (COG), with two members from each organisation, for effective implementation of the MoU.
Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC) project has been undertaken by the Government for development of high speed dedicated freight line to facilitate rail transportation of goods. In Phase-I, DFCCIL will construct two Corridors, namely Eastern DFC traversing from Ludhiana in Punjab to Dankuni in West Bengal and Western DFC extending from Dadari in National Capital Region to Jawaharlal Port (Mumbai) in Maharashtra.
The National Waterway -1 runs parallel to the Allahabad and Varanasi stretch of the Eastern dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC) of DFCCIL. The joint development of a state-of-the-art and first of its kind logistics hubs at Varanasi and other places promises to bring together inland waterways, rail and road connectivity, providing seamless, efficient and cost effective cargo movement. IWAI primarily undertakes projects for development and maintenance of IWT infrastructure on national waterways through grant received from Ministry of Shipping.
DFCCIL is a Special Purpose Vehicle set up under the administrative control of Ministry of Railways to undertake planning and development, mobilization of financial resources and construction, maintenance and operation of the Dedicated Freight Corridors.