Govt plans to invest Rs 45,000 cr to develop river cruise tourism

A roadmap was drawn at the meeting to create capacity in an additional 26 waterways, fit for River Cruise tourism from the current operational strength of 8 waterways


The maiden edition of Inland Waterways Development Council (IWDC) chaired by Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal in Kolkata on Monday has committed an investment of Rs 45,000 crore for the development of river cruise tourism in the country.

An estimated Rs 35,000 crore of this ambitious allocation has been earmarked for cruise vessels while Rs 10,000 crore will be invested for the development of cruise terminal infrastructure by 2047.

Sonowal also launched ‘Harit Nauka’ guidelines and ‘River Cruise Tourism Roadmap, 2047’ at the inaugural session of IWDC.

“The immense growth potential must be realised as we work towards becoming a leader in the Blue Economy of the world, in accordance with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,” Sonowal said.

A roadmap was drawn at the meeting to create capacity in an additional 26 waterways, fit for River Cruise tourism from the current operational strength of 8 waterways. The number of cruise circuits with night stays will be increased from 17 to 80 during the same time, according to an official statement.

In an effort to boost infrastructure in the inland waterways, the number of river cruise terminals will be increased up to 185, from the present strength of 15 terminals. Building on the capacity of enhanced circuits, the cruise tourism traffic with night stays to be increased from 5,000 to 1.20 lakh by 2047.

Similarly, the local cruise tourism traffic on National Waterways without night stay to be increased from 2 lakh to 15 lakh by 2047.

Sonowal said that with the launch of ‘Harit Nauka – Guidelines for Green Transition of Inland Vessels,’ MoPSW embarks on a journey towards a sustainable and eco-friendly future for our inland waterways.

He said that the roadmap had identified 30+ additional potential routes for different cruise types, including long & short, recreational and heritage segments to attract all tourist categories.

He said that an action plan and roadmap, including route development, marketing strategy, infrastructure development and navigation to effectively proceed with developing such additional river cruises is also ready.

He said that significant progress in waterway infrastructure includes the establishment of Multimodal Terminals at Varanasi, Sahibganj, and Haldia, enhancing regional connectivity.

“The Kalughat Intermodal Terminal is making substantial strides to facilitate seamless transportation and boost trade activities. The completion of a new Navigational Lock at Farakka enhances waterway navigability,” he said.

He said that ongoing construction of over 60 community jetties underscores a commitment to local connectivity and accessibility.

“These achievements collectively promote efficiency, connectivity, and local development in waterway infrastructure,” he said.

He said that as part of the strategy to ramp up inland waterways for cargo trade, an investment of Rs 15,200 crore was proposed at the Global Maritime India Summit (GMIS) held in Mumbai in October, 2023.

“This is likely to register a growth rate of more than 400 per cent, increasing the volume up to 500 Million Tonnes Per Annum (MTPA) by 2047,” he said.

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