Shallow water dredging projects in India.

Government of India declared 106 additional inland waterways as national waterways.


The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to carry out official amendments in “The National Waterways Bill, 2015”. The amendments are based on the recommendations of the Department related Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture and comments of State Governments. It provides for enacting a Central Legislation to declare 106 additional inland waterways, as the national waterways. After the inclusion of 106 additional in lands waterways to the existing five national waterways, the total number of national waterways goes up to 111.

The number of waterways to be declared as new National Waterways is now proposed as 106 and adding the existing NWs, the total number of National Waterways in the bill goes up to 111. The following changes have been effected in the original list of 101 waterways that was introduced with the National Waterways Bill 2015, on 05.05.2015:- 10 waterways of Kerala have been omitted, 17 waterways have been merged with the existing waterways and 18 waterways (5 Karnataka, 5 Meghalaya, 3 Maharashtra, 3 Kerala, 1 each from Tamilnadu and Rajasthan) have been added, thus, making a total of 106 waterways that have been finalized for declaration as new National Waterways in addition to the 5 existing waterways. In order to carry out these changes, an official amendment to the National Waterways Bill, 2015 will have to be moved in the Lok Sabha in the current Session of Parliament.

Declaration of the above additional 106 waterways as National Waterways would not have any immediate financial implications. Financial approval of the competent authority for each waterway would, however, be taken based on the outcome of the techno-economic feasibility studies etc. that are being undertaken by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) currently. IWAI will develop the feasible stretch of National Waterways for shipping and navigation purpose through mobilization of financial resources.

The declaration of these National Waterways would enable IWAI to develop the feasible stretches for Shipping and Navigation. The right over the use of water, river bed and the appurtenant land will remain with the State Government. In addition, other benefits to States are: fewer accidents, less congestion on roads, cheaper mode of ferrying passengers, reduced logistics costs in cargo movement and development of adjoining areas.

The expeditious declaration of National Waterways and its subsequent development will enhance the industrial growth and tourism potential of the hinterland along the waterway. This will also provide an additional, cheaper and environment friendly mode of transportation throughout the country.


Inland Water Transport is considered as the most cost effective and economical mode of transport from the point of view of fuel efficiency. One horse power can carry 4000 Kg load in water whereas, it can carry 150 Kg and 500 Kg by road and rail respectively. Further in a study as highlighted by the World Bank, 1 litre of fuel can move 105 ton-Km by inland water transport, whereas the same amount of fuel can move only 85 ton-Km by rail and 24 ton-Km by road. Studies have shown that emission from container vessels range from 32-36 gCO2 per ton-Km while those of road transport vehicles (heavy duty vehicles) range from 51-91gCO2 per ton-km.


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