Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said that the Bill to declare 101 rivers into National Waterways (NWs) would be introduced in Parliament. Waterways found feasible for navigation would be developed to NW and work will start from 2016-17. He also added that multi-modal hubs – as proposed at Varanasi and Sahibganj – would boost industry, employment generation and GDP growth.
The Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping also said that there is a proposal to establish a multi-modal grid with road. If possible, rail and port connectivity with river terminals on the existing NWs and Barak River is also under consideration. Government has already approved the Jal Marg Vikas (NW-I) which is a part of this grid. Presenting the profile of Vision 2020 for coastal shipping in India, he said that development of cruise and coastal tourism would be brought into focus.