State begins consultations to implement Nat Waterways-5 proj

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has begun consultations with various stakeholders and funding agencies, including World Bank, to implement the proposed Rs 5,000 crore National Waterways-5 project, a top state government official said on Thursday.
"We have been exploring possibilities of implementing the project. However, the state needs a funding agency as the National Waterways-5 requires huge investment," state's Chief Secretary B K Patnaik said after a meeting on the project.
Of the 588 km long Waterways-5, the state government has identified about 323 km stretch from Talcher to Paradip and Dhamra as economically viable.
"A large number of industries and coal companies can be benefitted if National Waterways-5 is implemented," said S Dandapat, Chief Engineer (project and marine) of Inland Waterways Authority of India.
Odisha government is seeking help from funding agencies to implement the project. "It could be World Bank or the Asian Development Bank. The project is viable and pollution free," Dandpat, who participated in the meeting said.
"It was agreed upon that joint venture through SPV will be the most suitable model for the project," official sources said.
The World Bank team which attended the meeting proposed to look at the course of Bramhani river and visit Dharama port for a field level assessment of the proposed project before deciding on funding.
Experts said the waterway is likely to be the most used waterway at par with NW-1 on Ganga river. It was also agreed in the meeting that this project is essential from the view of industrial infrastructure of the state.
Coal, coke, fertiliser, cement, mineral iron, steel and aluminium are important cargo to be transported though this waterway.
"It is initially estimated that about 11 mt of cargo can be transported per year through this route, which will increase up to 42 mt by 2023," Commerce and Transport Department sources said.
Besides, agricultural products like paddy, rice, straw, animal, fodder, jute, coconut fish products, house building materials, finished products cruise parties for tourism will also add to the traffic.
Brahmani-Kharsuan-Mahanadi river systems mainly constitute the river portion to be developed for the waterway.
The project envisages connecting the waterway areas in Geonkhali-Charbatia-Dhamara-Mangalagadi- Mahanadi Delta- Paradeep-Talcher and Jokadia.