The greater Kolkata region is gearing up for a transformative overhaul of its inland water transport (IWT) system through the Bengal Inland Water Transport and Logistic and Spatial Development Project. With a budget of Rs 1,021 crore and a completion deadline set for 2026, this comprehensive initiative is poised to usher in a new era of efficiency and sustainability in the city’s water-based transportation.

A Multifaceted Approach: The Bengal Inland Water Transport and Logistic and Spatial Development Project encompasses an array of strategic initiatives:

  1. Enhanced Safety Pontoons: The project will introduce 29 new pontoons equipped with advanced safety features. These upgrades include railings, covered gangways, anti-skid paint, and ramps, ensuring passenger safety remains a top priority.
  2. Passenger Comfort Zones: Waiting areas for passengers are set to undergo a significant facelift, offering not only comfort but also safety. The upgraded zones will feature attached toilets, smart ticket gates, and computerized ticket counters.
  3. Modern Passenger Ferry Vessels: A total of 22 new passenger ferry vessels will be constructed, boasting fuel-efficient engines, soundproof engine rooms, spacious passenger areas, and comfortable 3×2 seating arrangements.
  4. Green Vessels: As part of an eco-friendly approach, the project will introduce electric “Green Vessels,” reducing the environmental footprint of the IWT system.
  5. Expanded Jetties: To enhance regional accessibility, 15 new jetties will be constructed, providing more convenient embarkation and disembarkation points.
  6. State-of-the-Art Passenger Terminals: High-traffic passenger sites will witness the completion of large-scale passenger terminals, ensuring seamless connectivity and efficient service delivery.

Aims and Anticipated Benefits: The Bengal Inland Water Transport and Logistic and Spatial Development Project has several overarching goals:

  • Enhanced Safety: The project is expected to significantly bolster safety measures within the IWT system, instilling confidence among passengers.
  • Efficiency Improvement: By introducing modern amenities and vessels, the project aims to enhance the efficiency of Kolkata’s water-based transportation, reducing travel times and improving reliability.
  • Pollution Reduction: The transition to electric “Green Vessels” is poised to contribute to pollution reduction, aligning with sustainability goals.
  • Economic Boost: The project is anticipated to generate employment opportunities, both directly and indirectly, boosting the local economy. The improved transportation network will also facilitate smoother business operations, further driving economic activity.

A Focus on National Waterway-I: The project’s spotlight remains firmly fixed on the Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly River System, known as National Waterway-I. This vital artery serves as a crucial transportation route for passengers and cargo alike. The project’s enhancements are set to elevate National Waterway-I as a more appealing and efficient transportation option, benefiting businesses and consumers alike.

In sum, the Bengal Inland Water Transport and Logistic and Spatial Development Project marks a substantial investment in Kolkata’s future. The city and its environs stand to gain improved transportation, reduced pollution, job creation, and a revitalized economy, making it a project of great promise and potential.