Guwahati (Assam) [India], March 15 (ANI): The Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has achieved a landmark when the motor vessel (MV) Ram Prasad Bismil became the longest vessel ever to sail on the Brahmaputra river on Tuesday.
The 90 meters long flotilla is 26 meters wide, loaded with a draft of 2.1 meters, successfully completed the aspiring pilot run of heavy cargo movement from Haldia Dock in Kolkata after it anchored at Pandu port in Guwahati.
The vessel along with two barges - DB Kalpana Chawla and DB APJ Abdul Kalam - were flagged off from the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port in Haldia by Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways (PSW) and AYUSH, Sarbananda Sonowal flagged them off on February 16.
The significance of this pilot run lays down the path for commencement of barging operation from Kolkata to Guwahati via Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBRP).
The engineering marvel of this historic consignment remains at maintaining the minimum navigational draft of at least 2.0 meters, especially at critical stretches like the Sirajganj - Daikowa stretch of IBPR.
The Government of India along with the Government of Bangladesh funded the dredging of this stretch - with an 80:20 ratio respectively - for seamless navigation. The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) as well as Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) worked together so that this historic cargo movement can move smoothly.
Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal closely followed all developments and monitored the dredging work done by IWAI at various areas in this stretch so that the movement between NW1 & NW2 can start on a priority basis.
Sonowal said, "The vision of our Prime Minister Narendra Modiji is to energise the Ashtalakshmi potential of Northeast to power the growth engine of India."
"Under his vision of 'Transformation through Transportation,' we worked tirelessly to rejuvenate the water transport in the region. This is not only the cheapest & ecologically most adapt the mode of transportation, it also allows the long-awaited connect for the business of Northeast through the marine network with the rest of the world," he added.
Speaking further, Sonowal said, "As the pilot run of this longest vessel plying on the Brahmaputra anchors a success at Pandu today, we must recognize that this was made possible by the team to chalk out a working route during this season of challenging depth at many stretches. We remain deeply committed to bringing business viability of water transport in Assam and reinvigorate the vitality of Brahmaputra as Northeast India's economic fortune."
Sonowal said thanked the Prime Minister for supporting this initiative with all of his heart.
"We must also deeply thank the Bangladesh government without whose support this would not have been possible. On behalf of the people, I would like to extend our deepest gratitude for partnering with us to revive one of the best modes of transportation & creating an opportunity for mutual benefit and economic growth," he added.
The cargo ship MV Lal Bahadur Shastri carried a consignment of 200 MT foodgrains for Food Corporation of India (FCI) from Patna to Pandu, successfully completing the Pilot Movement cargo between Ganga, the National Waterway 1 (NW1), and Brahmaputra, the National Waterway 2 (NW2).
In addition to this, an Over Dimensional Cargo (ODC) for Numaligarh Refinery was also transported via IBPR further onto NW2. (ANI)