INLAND WATER WAYS – The future of transport sector in India.

 

Any region or nation develops based on their infrastructure investments in Transport sector. India’s transport network is one of the most extensive in the world. However, accessibility and connectivity are limited. Only 20 percent of the national highway network (which carries 40 percent of traffic) is four-lane, and one-third of the rural population lacks access to an all-weather road. With travelling costs increasing in roadways , railways, and airways the time has arrived for the country to look upon waterways. India has a good network of  inland waterways in the form of rivers, canals, backwaters. With proper utilization of these resources there could be a boom in the freight transportation by waterways.

Cost of water transportation in India is barely 50 paisa a kilometer, as compared to ₹1 by railways and ₹1.5 by roads. Airports have inadequate capacity and often poor transport connectivity. Apart from Chennai and Calcutta airports rest of the major airports are owned by private players levying heavy user charges on people travelling by planes, leaving it as an option only for rich and upper middle class.. Trains move very slowly owing to poor maintenance, and the entire railway system is grappling with issues of financial sustainability. A very limited passenger and express trains run between major cities. Poor transport safety, especially road safety (138,000 road fatalities recorded in 2012, is a growing concern in a country that is adding new drivers at a record pace. For the construction of new roads the costs of land pooling and the construction of flyovers are reaching sky-high. Due to this the transport charges are increasing.

 

With waterways there can be a huge reduction on carbon emission and a promote the tourism sector. The time has come for the government to attract investments in waterways and to uplift the economy.

 

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