- India has over 14500 km of waters that can be navigated which accounts only for about 1% of the country’s transportation. This includes canal backwaters, rivers and creeks amongst many other types of water bodies.
- However, these inland waterways have been unutilised, as compared to other countries in the world.
- Around 3700 km of major rivers are navigable by mechanised flat bottom vessels however, at present only 2000 km is actually used. Only 900 km out of the 4800 km of the navigable canal is used by mechanised vessels. Approximately 180 lakh tons of material is transported through these waterways.
- National Waterways Act came into effect in 2016. It proposed 106 additional National Waterways and merges 5 existing Acts which were declared the 5 National Waterways. As a result, 106 new waterways were identified by IWAI and intimated to MoS.
- The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is responsible for the timely execution of national waterways projects and to ensure improved water transportation in India.
- Under the National Waterways Act, 2016, 111 inland waterways (including five national waterways in India declared earlier) have been declared as ‘national waterways’.
- Out of the 111, National Waterways declared under the National Waterways Act, 2016, 13 are operational for shipping and navigation and cargo/passenger vessels are moving on them.
Inland Waterways Authority of India
- This body was created by the government of India in 1986 for regulating and developing inland waterways for shipping and navigation.
- The body chiefly undertakes development and maintenance projects of IWT infrastructure on national waterways.
- It undertakes these projects through grants from the Shipping Ministry.
- Its headquarters is in Noida.
- It also has regional offices in various other cities and towns across the country.
- National Waterways 1 or NW1
- It starts from Allahabad(Prayagraj) to Haldia with a distance of 1620 km.
- The NW 1 run through the Ganges, Bhagirathi, and Hooghly river system with having fixed terminals at Haldia, Farrakka, and Patna and floating terminals at most of the riverside cities like Kolkata, Bhagalpur, Varanasi, and Allahabad.
- It is be the longest National Waterways in India.
- National Waterways 2
- It is a stretch on the Brahmaputra river from Sadiya to Dhubri in Assam state.
- The NW 2 is one of the major freight transportation waterways of northeast India and the third-longest Waterways with and a total length of 891 km.
- National waterways 3 or the West Coast Canal
- It is located in Kerala state and runs from Kollam to Kottapuram.
- The 205 km long West Coast Canal is India’s first waterway with all-time navigation facility.
- The NW3 is consists of the West Coast Canal, Champakara Canal, and Udyogmandal Canal and runs through Kottappuram, Cherthala, Thrikkunnapuzha Kollam, and Alappuzha.
- National Waterway 4
- It is connected from Kakinada to Pondicherry through Canals, Tank, and River Godavari along with Krishna river.
- The NW 4 the second-longest waterway of India with a total length of 1095 km in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
- National Waterway 5
- It connects Orissa to West Bengal using the stretch on Brahmani River, East Coast Canal, Matai river, and Mahanadi River Delta.
- The 623 km long canal system will handle the traffic of cargo such as coal, fertilizer, cement, and iron.
- National waterway 6
- It is the proposed waterway in Assam state and will connect Lakhipur to Bhanga in river Barak.
- The 121 km long waterway will help in trading between the town of Silchar to Mizoram State.
Operational National Waterways in India
|NW Number||River System||Route||Locations|
|NW – 1||Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly||Prayagraj – Haldia||Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, West Bengal|
|NW – 2||Brahmaputra||Sadiya-Dhubri||Assam|
|NW – 3||West Coast Canal, Champakara Canal, and Udyogamandal Canal||Kottapuram – Kollam||Kerala|
|NW – 4||Krishna and Godavari||Kakinada–Puducherry stretch of canals, Kaluvelly Tank, Bhadrachalam – Rajahmundry, Waziraba–Vijayawada||Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry|
|NW – 10||Amba River||Maharashtra|
|NW – 83||Rajpuri Creek||Maharashtra|
|NW – 85||Revadanda Creek – Kundalika River System||Maharashtra|
|NW – 91||Shastri river–Jaigad creek system||Maharashtra|
|NW – 68||Mandovi – Usgaon Bridge to the Arabian Sea||Goa|
|NW – 111||Zuari– Sanvordem Bridge to Marmugao Port||Goa|
|NW – 73||Narmada River||Gujarat and Maharashtra|
|NW – 100||Tapi River||Gujarat and Maharashtra|
|NW – 97 (Sundarbans Waterways)||Namkhana to AtharaBankiKhal||Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route||West Bengal|
25 National Waterways found feasible for Cargo/Passenger Movement
|National Waterway||Details of Waterways||STATES|
|National Waterway 1||Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly River System (Haldia – Allahabad)||Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand & West Bengal|
|National Waterway 2||Brahmaputra River (Dhubri – Sadiya)||Assam|
|National Waterway 16||Barak River||Assam|
|National Waterway 3||West Coast Canal (Kottapuram – Kollam), Champakara and Udyogmandal Canals||Kerala|
|National Waterway 4||Krishna River (Vijayawada – Muktyala)||Andhra Pradesh|
|National Waterway 5||Dhamra-Paradio via Mangalagadi to Pankopal||Odisha|
|National Waterway 8||Alappuzha- Changanassery Canal||Kerala|
|National Waterway 9||Alappuzha-Kottayam – Athirampuzha Canal||Kerala|
Alternate route: 11.5km
|National Waterway 27||Cumberjua River||Goa|
|National Waterway 68||Mandovi River||Goa|
|National Waterway 86||Rupnarayan River||West Bengal|
|National Waterway 97||Sunderbans Waterway||West Bengal|
|National Waterway 111||Zuari River||Goa|
|National Waterway 10||Amba River||Maharashtra|
|National Waterway 40||Ghagra River||Bihar|
|National Waterway 44||Ichamati River||West Bengal|
|National Waterway 52||Kali River||Karnataka|
|National Waterway 57||Kopili River||Assam|
|National Waterway 25||Chapora River||Goa|
|National Waterway 37||Gandak River||Bihar|
|National Waterway 28||Dabhol Creek Vasisti River||Maharashtra|
|National Waterway 73||Narmada River||Maharashtra & Gujarat|
|National Waterway 85||Revadanda Creek – Kundalika River System||Maharashtra|
|National Waterway 94||Sone River||Bihar|
|National Waterway 100||Tapi River||Maharashtra & Gujarat|