GUWAHATI, Sept 2 - In a big boost to the promotion of waterways as an alternative, cost-effective and environment-friendly mode of transport, one of the longest hauls in the Inland Water Transport (IWT) movement in the country comprising a consignment of bagged fly ash is on its way to the Pandu inland port from Kahalgaon in Bihar.
The consignment in two barges containing a total of 1,233 tonnes of fly ash was flagged off at Kahalgaon on NW-1, river Ganga for Pandu on NW-2, river Brahmaputra.
Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) sources told The Assam Tribune that the two barges of 1,000 tonnes capacity each belonging to IWAI would reach Pandu via the Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route in around 20 days, covering a distance of 2,085 km.
Sources said that the development marked the commencement of a critical integrated movement through three waterways.
It is also the first time that fly ash , a by-product from National Thermal Power Corporation�s (NTPC) Kahalgaon power plant - is being transported to Assam through waterways.
As raw material in cement and brick industries, fly ash has a big demand and it is also used for land filling purpose. The consignment is to be delivered to Star Cements for use in their cement plant.
IWAI authorities believe that this initiative would evince confidence and interest in the inland waterways industry and vessel operators, as more than 10 such pilot movements have been successfully completed recently on various stretches of NWs.
In July, IWAI launched a dedicated portal �FOCAL� to connect cargo owners and shippers with real-time data on availability of vessels.
�More such movements of fly ash and pond ash from the Super Thermal Power Plants of NTPC are being planned on National Waterway-1,� IWAI sources said.
As part of IWAI�s commitment towards enabling an alternative mode of transport which is environment friendly and cost effective, substantial infrastructure development like multi-modal and inter-modal terminals, Roll on - Roll off (Ro-Ro) facilities, ferry services, navigation aid are underway.