NWAI officials have held discussions with the Goa government on nationalising inland waterways, especially along the Mandovi and Zuari rivers, frequently used by iron ore barges to transport minerals
The inland waterways of Goa used for cargo transportation—primarily export of iron ore—may soon be nationalised if the state government gives a green signal to the proposal mooted by the National Waterways Authority of India (NWAI), reports PTI.
Senior NWAI officials were in Goa to hold discussions with the Goa government on nationalising these inland waterways, especially along the Mandovi and Zuari rivers, frequently used by iron ore barges to transport minerals.
"It is for the state government to decide on nationalisation, and the proposal would not be thumped on them," NWAI chairman SP Gaur said in an event organised by the Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industries (GCCI) in Panaji on Thursday.
If the proposal goes through, Goa's waters would be the fifth in the country to be nationalised and developed by the central agency.
Goa’s waterways are used by 1,000-odd barges besides shipping trawlers and passenger ferry boats on a daily basis.
The state's major mineral industry traditionally uses these inland waterways to carry ore from mines to trans-shippers (vessels anchored in ports).
NWAI's initial estimates indicate that the state would need Rs400 crore-Rs500 crore to develop the waterways, river banks and navigational gadgets helping ship movements during the night.
"Currently, ships cannot explore the complete potential of the waterways because of many factors including the night-time visibility issue. Once developed properly, all these issues would be solved, (thereby) increasing productivity," Mr Gaur said.
During his Goa visit, the NWAI chairman interacted with major industry players in the programme hosted by GCCI.
Allaying fears that nationalisation of inland waterways would take away rights of the state government, Gaur said that the agency would only look after the development aspect while regulation will still remain with the state.
"We have nothing to do with the areas surrounding the rivers. We will be looking after only the navigational channel," he added.
NWAI officials said that the state government can boost its revenue with nationalisation as the trade along the inland waterways will increase manifold.