Kutch (Guj), Feb 10: Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari said today that the Centre would introduce the Inland Waterways Bill to convert 110 Indian rivers into transport channels during the forthcoming Parliament session.
"We will develop inland waterways through a public-private partnership (PPP) model. Like national highways have been built, we want to work on the Pradhanmantri Jal Marg Yojna," Gadkari said at a function, while commissioning the Tuna Tekra Bulk Terminal at the Adani Group-run Kandla Port in Kutch district today.
"In the next parliament session, we will pass a bill to convert 110 rivers of India into inland waterways. It will also increase tourism. We want to transform Indian rivers into ports," Gadkari said.
"There are five inland waterlanes which we would like to develop on a PPP basis next year. One is Ganga, which flows from Gangotri to the Bay of Bengal via Haldia. The other is Mahanadi of Orissa, which is in a coal mining area. The third is Brahmaputra. The fourth is Buckingham Canal which links Tamil Nadu with Andhra Pradesh and the fifth one is in Kerala," Gadkari said.
Gadkari said that waterways would cut transport cost by 30 per cent.
He said that the first inland waterway port would be inaugurated at Varanasi.
"Inland waterways which we plan to build will be like Ahmedabad and Mumbai airport. It will have shops, cafeteria, shops of handlooms and handicrafts. People can also live there. The first such water port will be in Varanasi and we will inaugurate it very soon," Gadkari said.