GUWAHATI, Jan 17 - The World Bank has approved a Rs 630-crore loan to the Assam Inland Water Transport (AIWT) for modernisation of the State’s passenger ferry services on the Brahmaputra and other rivers.
Under the Assam Inland Water Transport Project (AIWTP), the infrastructure of passenger ferry services will be improved and the capacity of institutions running the inland water transport will be strengthened. Better-designed terminals and energy-efficient vessels will make the ferry services more sustainable with least disruption to nature, an official statement said.
Of the total project cost of Rs 770 crore, the bank will provide Rs 630 crore.
The loan was signed between AIWTP and the Country Director, India, World Bank in presence of Additional Secretary (FB&ADB), Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, Government of India in New Delhi.
The Indian delegation on behalf of Government of Assam was represented by Adil Khan, State Project Director, Assam Inland Water Transport Development Society.
With the World Bank’s support, the government will create an institutional framework to turn inland waterways into a mode of transport which is both attractive and well-suited to the people.
The inland water transport project will also help build modern ferry terminals.
It will follow the ‘working with nature’ principle that aims to design new infrastructure and rehabilitate the existing ones in a way that works with natural river processes. The project will be initiated in Guwahati and Majuli.
The project will also improve the infrastructure of ferry services and focus on safety of women passengers. The terminals will have better access, lighting and signages, while the new vessels will be equipped with individual seats and washroom facilities. A strengthened regulatory regime will ensure reduced overloading, adherence to time schedule and better crew standards.