GUWAHATI, Aug 31: Inland waterways are powering the growth of the Indian economy and emerging as an alternative mode of transportation, Union minister of port, shipping and waterways Sarbananda Sonowal said on Thursday.
Sonowal said this while inaugurating a road show on Global Maritime India Summit (GMIS), 2023, which is scheduled to be held in New Delhi from October 17-19 this year.
“The Centre has invested an amount of Rs 5,200 crore in the inland waterways sector in the last nine years, which is a significant jump of over 200 per cent as against investments made in 28 years before 2014. This clean, efficient and economical mode of transportation will be pivotal in unlocking the economic potential of the hinterland of India,” Sonowal said.
‘‘By investing in inland waterways and empowering our rich and complex waterways system, we are in the process of creating a collaborative ecosystem for the industry that will foster greater cooperation among our neighbouring countries. This is going to unlock huge trade and commerce potential for all the countries in the south Asia region as well as other states of India,” he said.
The government aims to upgrade Indian ports to global standards, facilitating greater industrialization, manufacturing and ease of doing business, he said.
“India stands as one of the fastest expanding maritime nations and by modernizing the ports of India, we will ensure the advancement of coastal communities, coastal districts, and the entire nation. By elevating Indian ports to global standards, we aim to foster a port-driven economy that promotes increased industrialization, manufacturing, and improved ease of doing business,” Sonowal said.
The road show on Global Maritime India Summit, 2023 was also attendedby Assam ministers Parimal Suklabaidya and Bimal Borah, Arunachal Pradesh minister for water resources Mama Natung, Nagaland MLA Temjenmenba and senior officials of the ministry.
Officials from neighbouring Bhutan and Bangladesh included Royal Bhutanese Consulate General, Guwahati Vice Consul Phurpa Tshering, assistant high commissioner, Bangladesh in Guwahati, Ruhul Amin and joint secretary, member (planning and operation), Bangladesh Inland Waterways Transport Authority (BIWTA), Mohammad Monowar Uz Zaman.
The road show at Guwahati is the fifth in a series of road shows being organized by the Union ministry of ports, shipping and waterways as part of the run-up to the main event of Global Maritime India Summit, 2023.
GMIS 2023, a premier maritime sector-focused event organized aims to bring together various stakeholders to explore opportunities, understand challenges, and stimulate investments within India’s maritime sector.