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Promoting Inland Waterways in the Country:

GS Paper 3:

Topics covered: Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc.



Pandu in Guwahati recently received the maiden voyage of food-grains from Patna to via Bangladesh, ushering new age for inland waterways in Assam as Brahmaputra (NW2) gets connected with Ganga (National Waterway-1) via Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route.

  • MV Lal Bahadur Shastri carrying 200 MT of foodgrains for Food Corporation of India (FCI) completed the maiden pilot run from Patna.
  • The vessel sailed of 2,350 km from Patna on NW-1, passed through Bhagalpur, Manihari, Sahibganj, Farakka, Tribeni, Kolkata, Haldia, Hemnagar; Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) route through Khulna, Narayanganj, Sirajganj, Chilmari and NW-2 through Dhubri, and Jogighopa.


Inland waterways in India:

To promote inland water transport in the country, 111 ‘inland Waterways’ has been declared as ‘National Waterways’ under the National Waterways Act, 2016.

  • Inland water transport in the country is being promoted as an economical, environment friendly supplementary mode of transport to rail and road.


Did you know?

  • Under Entry 24 of the Union List of the Seventh Schedule of the Constitution, the central government can make laws on shipping and navigation on inland waterways which are classified as national waterways by Parliament by law.


Important National Waterways of India:

National Waterway 1:

  • From Allahabad to Haldia with a distance of 1620 km.
  • The NW1 run through the Ganges, Bhagirathi and Hooghly river system with having fixed terminals at Haldia, Farrakka and Patna.
  • Floating terminals at the riverside cities like Kolkata, Bhagalpur, Varanasi and Allahabad.
  • It is the longest National Waterway in India.


National Waterway 2:

  • Brahmaputra River from Sadiya to Dhubri in Assam state.
  • The NW2 is the third longest Waterway with a total length of 891 km.


National Waterway 3:

  • The West Coast Canal or NW3 is in Kerala state and run from Kollam to Kottapuram.
  • The 205 km long West Coast Canal is India’s first waterway with all-time navigation facility.
  • The NW3 is consisting of West Coast Canal, Champakara Canal and Udyogmandal Canal.
  • It runs through Kottappuram, Cherthala, Thrikkunnapuzha, Kollam and Alappuzha.


National Waterway 4:

  • NW4 connects Kakinada to Pondicherry.
  • The NW4 is the second longest waterway of India.
  • Total length of 1095 km in Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.


National Waterway 5:

  • NW5 connects Odisha to West Bengal.
  • It runs through the stretch on Brahmani River, East Coast Canal, Matai River and Mahanadi River.
  • The 623 km long canal system handle the traffic of cargo such as coal, fertilizer, cement and iron.


National Waterway 6:

  • NW6 is the proposed waterway in Assam.
  • It will connect Lakhipur to Bhanga at River Barak.
  • The 121 km long waterway will boost trade between Silchar (Assam) to Mizoram.


Current Affairs


Insta Curious:

Do you know the locations of NW 1 and NW 2? Which states are connected by NW1? Reference



Prelims Link:

  1. Important waterways.
  2. Their locations.
  3. About JMVP.
  4. About IWAI.

Mains Link:

Discuss the significance of National Waterways.

Sources: the Hindu.