GUWAHATI, Sept 28 - Calling for efforts to properly exploit the water resources of the State, Transport Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary today said that steps will be taken for development of night navigation at places like Sadiya, Lakhimpur, Majuli and Guwahati to give a fillip to both passenger and freight traffic in the inland waterways.
Addressing a workshop on �International Practices in Inland River Transport and Assam Inland Water Transport (AIWPT)� organised by the Transport Department, the Directorate of Inland Water Transport (IWT) and the World Bank here, Patowary said that Assam is blessed with immense water resources and there is a need to harness these resources.
He said under the Act East Policy, the inland water channel to Bangladesh will be opened shortly to boost trade and commerce in this region.
In view of the Rs 1,000 crore investment plan by the World Bank on inland water transportation in Assam, there is every possibility to develop the inland waterways in Assam like what has been achieved in China or Vietnam, he said.
Patowary said the government would soon be introducing free ferry services to carry bodies of the deceased from Jorhat to Majuli as private operators charge exorbitant fees.
The minister underlined the importance of introducing freight services to enhance the movement of goods and passengers and also of luxury ships in certain tourist circuits to promote eco-tourism.
He called upon World Bank officials to help not only in creation of inland water infrastructure but also impart training to IWT officials and staff as part of the project by the multilateral agency.
Speaking on the occasion, Chief Secretary VK Pipersenia said that inland water transportation is not only cost-effective, but also environment friendly.