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State to get inland navigation institute

By Rituraj Borthakur

GUWAHATI, July 17 - A Regional Inland Navigation Institute � the second such institute in the country that would impart training in various subjects related to inland water transport � would soon come up in the State.

Inland Water Transport director BB Dev Choudhury told The Assam Tribune that the Central government has committed Rs 50 crore for the institute once the State government identifies the land.

There is a similar institute in Patna, but sources said it lacks adequate facilities.

Considering that there are two national waterways in the State and another sixteen are being proposed, the institute, officials say, would turn out to be an international standard one.

�We are in talks with the administration for a riverside plot at Chandrapur on the outskirts of the city. Once it is finalized, work would start immediately,� Choudhury said. The residential institute would come up in around 20 acres of land. It will have an annual intake capacity of around 2,000 students.

Meanwhile, the IWT will launch four new modern vessels in Majuli by this month-end. Two of them will be 28-metre-long catamaran vessels, having a capacity to carry six vehicles and over 100 passengers. The vessels are being built at a cost of Rs 1.9 crore each � all funded by the State government.

A ro-ro service is also likely to be launched in the river island by next month, officials said.

Around 5,000 islanders cross the Brahmaputra daily from three ghats. Presently, the IWT operates two vessels while there are also eight ferry services operated by private parties.

The State government had sanctioned altogether 15 modern vessels, four of which were recently launched in Barak valley. The remaining eight would be launched by November this year, Choudhury added.

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