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. Of the total project cost of Rs. 770 crore, the bank will provide Rs. 630 crore.
In an official communique, state government stated that the loan was signed between AIWTP, to be executed by Government of Assam, and World Bank India’s country director in presence of Additional Secretary (FB & ADB), Department of Economic Affairs.
The state delegation was represented by AIWTDS state project director Adil Khan and deputy state project director Rahul Chandra Das. 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.
Assam’s ferry services are integral to the lives of the people living both in the Brahmaputra Valley and Barak Valley. With better navigation aid, appropriate safety gear and suitable marine engines, the ferry services are expected to get more reliable and safer. The project will also help build modern ferry terminals. It will follow the ‘working with nature’ principle that aim to design new infrastructure and rehabilitate the existing one in a way that works with natural river processes. The project will be initiated at 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 facility. A strengthened regulatory regime will ensure reduced overloading, adherence to time schedule and better crew standards.