Wed, 06 Dec 2023

Guwahati (Assam) [India], September 28 (ANI): In a momentous occasion that marks a significant leap in Assam's transportation infrastructure, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, on Thursday ceremonially launched a strategic addition to the state's Inland Water Transport fleet.

The event, held at Lachit Ghat in Guwahati witnessed the flagging off of 10 Catamaran Vessels, 3 Tug Boats, and a Search and Rescue Vessel.

This strategic fleet expansion is a visionary initiative that seeks to harness the vast potential of Assam's abundant river systems. The introduction of these vessels is set to redefine inland water transport in the state, offering numerous benefits in terms of efficiency, safety, and environmental sustainability.

Rivers have always been a lifeline for Assam.

These modern vessels, will not just revitalize the waterways but will open doors to economic growth, job creation, and a greener future.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also emphasized the significance of this expansion in his address.

"We will soon start a Hop-On Hop-Off Ferry Service connecting major religious centres around Guwahati. We are working on a Rs 700 crore plan to modernise Assam's inland waterways," the Assam CM said. The introduction of the 10 cutting-edge Catamaran Vessels worth Rs 38.43 crore with a carrying capacity of 100 passengers and 50 motorbikes is set to redefine the way people and goods traverse across Assam's waterways.

These modern marine vessels of Length 31.20 meters and Breadth 10.20 meters are engineered with cutting-edge technology to provide 2 x 180 Horsepower; offering unmatched stability with a maximum speed of 10 knots, maintaining safety even in the most challenging river conditions.

The twin-hulled design ensures a comfortable and secure journey for passengers, transforming their travel experience on our Inland waterways. With exceptional stability, increased passenger and cargo capacity, and environmentally conscious design, the Catamaran Vessels will additionally offer a sustainable and efficient mode of transportation for both commuters and traders.

The newly procured vessels namely- MV Ugratara, MV Umachal, MV Aswaklanta, MV Jahnavi, MV Sapteshwari, MV Bhagirathi, MV Alakananda, MV Sunbhrangi, MV Triveni and MV Sankari are scheduled to be commissioned in the strategic divisions of Assam IWT i.e. six units in Guwahati, two in Jorhat and two in Dhuburi.

Out of the six units of Catamarans to be commissioned in Guwahati, two units are strategically integrated into the upcoming Assam Tourism Cruise Circuit, to be eventually operationalized under the Assam Inland Waterways Company Limited (AIWCL).

The Assam Tourism Cruise Circuit will encompass 4/5 religious and tourist places in and around the river Brahmaputra in Guwahati.

To be mentioned here, in 2021, the Assam government launched the first set of 10 Catamaran Vessels, which are currently under operation at Guwahati, Jorhat and Dhuburi divisions of IWT. As per data available from e-ticketing services, a total of 99, 92,419 passengers have commuted by these catamaran vessels till July 2023.

The Inland Water Transport Department of Assam is proud to introduce'state of the art' powerful Tug Boats, worth Rs 5. 38 crore, which will play a crucial role in enhancing the efficiency and safety of our water transport.

These Tug Boats of Length 13.70 meters and Breadth 3.15 meters, will provide vital assistance to other vessels, ensuring smooth navigation even in adverse weather conditions. Amplified by 2 x 400 Horse Power, these Tug Boats are designed with enhanced towing capabilities and high manoeuvrability. This will facilitate efficient berthing and unberthing of vessels, reducing turnaround times and enhancing operational effectiveness.

The Search and Rescue boats introduced today are poised to be the unsung heroes of Assam's inland waterways. With advanced navigation and communication equipment, speed, and manoeuvrability, SAR boats will serve as first responders during distress calls. They are designed to save lives, provide safety assurance, respond to disasters, and protect the environment.

The ceremonial launching of the 10 new Catamaran Vessels, three Tug Boats, and a Search and Rescue boat testament to the Assam Inland Water Transport Project's vision for a vibrant and sustainable transportation network across the inland waterways of the state.

The Government of Assam (GoA) with financial aid from the World Bank has taken up the Assam Inland Water Transport (AIWT) project to improve the quality of inland waterways transport by integrating high-quality passenger and vehicle ferry services in Brahmaputra and Barak rivers, to ensure a safe, sustainable and reliable mode of transport for myriads of commuters across the state. To modernize Assam's IWT sector, the World Bank is financing/assisting GoA through a phase-wise project, which includes the upgradation of ferry Infrastructure, Fleet Modernization, institutional capacity development etc. (ANI)

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