NEW DELHI, Aug 18 - Decks have been cleared for declaration of nine rivers of the State as national waterways, with the Parliamentary panel endorsing the Assam government�s recommendation.
The nine rivers include Barak, Subansiri, Lohit, Gangadhar, Aai, Beki, Puthimari, Kapili and Dehing.
The National Waterways Bill 2015 tabled in May has been vetted and cleared by the Department Related Parliamentary Standing Committee and was tabled in the Parliament last week.
The Assam government�s point, since approved by the Parliamentary panel, was that all the nine rivers require regular maintenance for channel depth and navigability. Increasing the navigability of these rivers will enhance trade and commerce with Bangladesh, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur on the one hand, and improve communication between the interior areas of Assam and other adjoining states.
The Government of Meghalaya has also identified five rivers which can be declared as national waterways. The rivers include Simsang, Jinjiram, Ganol, Kynshi (Jadukata river) and Umngot.
However, the Parliamentary Standing Committee remarked that rivers from Meghalaya are not in the list of national waterways because of gradient issues and other concerns. The committee however, recommended that feasibility of declaration of the five rivers as national waterways as suggested by the Government of Meghalaya, may also be examined.
The committee recommended that in order to achieve maximum utilisation of the waterways, proper road connectivity may be provided to the river terminals along the waterways. Similarly, rail connectivity at possible terminals may also be worked out during the economic feasibility survey of these national waterways.
The Government of Mizoram has conveyed its �no objection� to the proposal of declaring river Tlawng (Dhales-wari) as one of the national waterways. They have also stated that since road transportation is the only means of communication available in the state so far, the river Tlawng as a national waterway will benefit the inhabitants of the state in respect of transportation of man and materials as the river covers a major portion of Mizoram and connects Assam.
The Government of Nagaland informed that the rivers in the state do not meet the criteria of the NTPC Ltd recommendations for navigable rivers. However, a stretch of about 60 km of the Tizu river between Akhas bridge in Phek district and the international border with Myanmar in Kiphire district can be developed as a waterway, with suitable dredging at a few locations of the river.