The objective of ‘Act East Policy’ is to promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop strategic relationship with countries in the Asia-Pacific region by providing enhanced connectivity to the States of North Eastern Region including Arunachal Pradesh with other countries in our neighbourhood. Act East Policy (AEP) provides an interface between North Eastern India including the state of Arunachal Pradesh and the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) region. The details of the projects undertaken for connectivity of NE States through Myanmar & Bangladesh are at Annexure-1.

Further,the Government sanctioned following projects for development of the Inland Water Transport (IWT) infrastructure on National Waterways in the North-Eastern Region (NER) for a period of 5 years from 2020-21 to 2024-25

 (i)    NW-2 (Dhubri-Sadiya stretch of river Brahmaputra) at the cost of Rs.461 Crore; and

(ii)   NW-16 (river Barak) & Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route at the cost of Rs.145 Crore.

Details of these two projects are at Annexure-2.

Besides, there are a number of projects sanctioned under Central Sector Scheme (CSS) of Inland Water Transport (IWT)which are at various stages of implementation through respective State Governments in NE Regions. The details are at Annexure-3.

The investment made under Inland Water Transport (IWT) component of Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project (KMTTP) for connectivity with Myanmar is around Rs.550 Crore. To improve connectivity to North Eastern Region (NER) through Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route under a Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWT&T), a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) has been signed between India and Bangladesh for dredging Sirajganj to Daikhowa (175 km) of Jamuna river and Ashuganj – Zakiganj (295 km) of Kushiyara river in Bangladesh at the cost of Rs. 305 Crore to be shared in the ratio of 80:20 between India & Bangladesh respectively.

(c)   The Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways has conceptualized a plan to develop the Eastern Waterways Connectivity Transport Grid (comprising 4 key waterways and certain international routes) of about 5,000 kms navigable waterways to boost regional integration and trade with South Asia [Bangladesh, Bhutan, India & Nepal (BBIN)] and Eastern South Asia (including Myanmar and to countries like Singapore, Malaysia & Thailand). Seamless connection of NW-1 (Ganges), NW-2 (Brahmaputra) and NW-16 (Barak) would also create opportunity for developing an economic corridor of 3,500 kms connecting North Eastern India with rest of India through Bangladesh and also linking Bhutan and Nepal to Bangladesh and India through multimodal connection.

Annexure-1

The details of the projects funded by Ministry of External Affairs, undertaken for connectivity of NE States with neighboring countries like Myanmar & Bangladesh:

  1. Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project:The objective of the project is to provide an alternative connectivity to the North East Region from the Kolkata/Haldia port through Sittwe Port- Kaladan river up to Paletwa in Myanmar by waterway and Paletwa to Zorinpui by Road in Mizoram and provide an alternate route between the landlocked North-East and the rest of India. Ministry of External Affair is the nodal Ministry for implementation. Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the Project Development Consultant (PDC) for this project.
  2. Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWT&T): North Eastern States are connected with eastern part of India through river Brahmaputra (NW-2) and river Barak (NW-16), Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghli river system (NW-1) via Sundarbans (NW-97) and Indo-Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route under a Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade (PIWT&T) between India and Bangladesh since 1972. Under this Protocol, Inland vessels / cruises of one country can ply on the designated waterway routes of another country.
  3. In addition to above, for the use of Chattogram and Mongla Ports of Bangladesh for movement of goods to and from India, Memorandum of Understanding, dated 06.06.2015, Agreement, dated 25.10.2018 and Standard Operating Procedure, dated 05.10.2019 have been finalized. It provides connectivity to Agartala (Tripura) via Akhura; Dawki (Meghalaya) via Tamabil; Sutarkandi (Assam) via Sheola and Srimantpur (Tripura) via Bibirbazar to Chattogram / Mongla Ports in Bangladesh.

 Annexure-2

Details of infrastructure projects on National Waterways in North Eastern Region (NER)

  1. Project: Comprehensive Project for development of National Waterway (NW)-2:Government is carrying out development of Inland Water Transport (IWT) projects on National Waterway-2 (River Brahmaputra) from Dhubri to Sadiya (891kms) at the cost of Rs.461 Crore for a period of 5 years (2020-25). The salient features of the projects being taken up are development of navigable fairway with day and night navigation aids and terminals. The development of NW-2 enables waterway connectivity of North East region with Kolkata/Haldia ports via Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route. The major interventions under this project are (i) Construction of Jogighopa Terminal; (ii) Alternative road to Pandu Port; (iii) Ship repair facility at Pandu; and (iv) Construction of Tourist Jetties at Biswanathghat, Jogighopa, Pandu&Neamati.
  2. Project: Comprehensive Project for development of NW-16&IBP route: The development of IWT projects on National Waterway-16&IBP route at the cost of Rs.145Crore for a period of 5 years (2020-25) is being carried out with fairway maintenance and Least Available Depth (LAD) along with navigation aids. Action for upgradation of Badarpur and Karimganj terminals including customs and immigration facility at Karimganj terminal has been initiated. The major interventions under this project are (i) Construction of Terminal at Sonamura on Gumti river; (ii) Construction of terminal at Maia on Ganga river; and (iii) Upgradation of Badarpur and Karimganj terminals. 

Annexure-3

Projects sanctioned under Central Sector Scheme

(To be implemented by the respective State Governments)

Sl.

No.

States Name of Project Project Cost

(Rupees in Crore)

1

 

Assam Construction of 15 nos. (17.0m long) floating terminals at 15 Ghats on NW-2 (Assam) 6.07
Construction of 15 nos. of (17.0m long) floating terminals at 15 Ghats on NW-16 (Assam) 6.37
Construction of 25nos (17.0m long) floating terminals at 25 Ghats on NW-2 (Assam) 10.97
Construction of 16nos (25.0m long) floating terminals at 16 Ghats on NW-2 (Assam) 13.70
2

 

Manipur

 

Loktak Inland Water Transport Project-II  onLoktak Lake (Manipur) 7.88
Project proposal for utilising the savings under CSS for ‘Survey of River Barak (Manipur side)’ 0.40
Loktak Inland Waterways Improvement Project for Loktak Lake (Manipur) 25.58
3 Mizoram Preparation of DPR for Tuichawang / Karnaphuli River (Mizoram) 0.57
Development of IWT on river Khawthlangtuipui- Tuichawng in Lunglei District, Mizoram 22.93
4 Tripura Setting up of linkage  with Meghna river system in Bangladesh by developing Gumti River (Tripura) 24.83

This information was given by the Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal in a written reply to the Rajya Sabha.