GUWAHATI, Feb 27 - Union Minister of Shipping, Highway and Roadways Nitin Gadkari today laid the foundation stone for a ship repair facility�at Pandu and also inaugurated the roll on-roll off (Ro-Ro) ferry service between Dhubri and Hatsingimari on the river Brahmaputra.
The slipway project had already commenced on a 3.37-acre land obtained from the Assam government on 20-year lease term, and will be completed by December 2018. The ship repair facility will be capable of handling vessels up to 60 metres in length, while three vessels can be repaired simultaneously.
Gadkari, who arrived at the venue at 6 pm after a delay of over two hours, said that the ambitious Ro-Ro project for connecting Dhubri and Hatsingimari through waterways would cut down the total distance by 190 km. The Ro-Ro facility between Dhubri and Hatsingimari will facilitate movement of loaded and unloaded trucks between the north bank and the south bank and will cut the travel distance from 220km to 30km. The facility is being commenced currently with two vessels of Inland Water Transport.
�Eleven rivers of Assam will be connected with Inland Water Transport, and the feasibility study is being done in details. Project reports are also being prepared.�Three more Ro-Ro facilities in the Brahmaputra will also be developed soon. As in China and the European countries, the logistics cost of passengers and goods traffic will have to be reduced from 18 per cent to�at least 12 per cent in India,� Gadkari said.
Gadkari added that 35 floating jetties in�the Brahmaputra were also being planned.
The 11 rivers that are to be connected by Inland Water Transport include Aai, Barak, Dehing, Dhansiri, Dikhou, Gangadhar, Puthimari, Subansiri and Kopili.
Gadkari said that local youths would get priority in employment as and when the projects were commissioned.
Also present on the occasion were Union Minister of State (Independent charge) for Sports and Youth Affairs Sarbananda Sonowal and MPs Bijoya Chakravarty, Rameswar Teli and Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, besides the Chairman of the Inland Waterways Authority of India.