Guwahati: With an aim to launch the facility of ship repairing for the entire northeast Bharat, the inland waterways authority (IWAI) under the Union ministry of ports, shipping and waterways, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Hooghly-Cochin shipyard limited (HCSL) on Thursday for setting up a new ship repair facility at Pandu port on the southern bank of mighty Brahmaputra. The design and implementation of the project, technically supported by IIT Madras, have been ensured with best standards.
“A landmark moment for Assam and Northeast, as we signed an agreement with HCSL for the ship repairing facilities at Pandu, Guwahati,” said Sarbananda Sonowal, Union minister for ports, shipping and waterways, who was present on the occasion along with State chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Union State minister Shantanu Thakur and other dignitaries.
The new facility will avert unnecessary large haulage to Kolkata for repairing ships, which will save travel distance of around 2,500 kilometre and also 35-40 days in the voyage, commented Sonowal adding that under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, 20 national waterways in the region are being developed, which woul transform connectivity in the region.
It may be mentioned that the north-eastern region is connected with the mainland through the chicken-neck corridor in north Bengal. With about 4500 km of international border with neighbouring nations like Bhutan, Tibet (China), Myanmar and Bangladesh, the region remains strategically and economically crucial as the gateway to south-east Asian countries.
Under the Act East policy, the Centre has given special emphasis on improving the waterways for envisaging seamless connectivity of Northeast with Kolkata and Haldia ports with proximity to West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh (through Ganga-Hooghly-Bhagirathi national waterways). Understanding the need of a ship repairing centre in the region the IWAI has decided to take the initiative.
Cost of the Pandu ship repairing project, to be developed on 3.67 acres area, is estimated to be rupees 75 crores. It will cater the repair or dry dock of around 40 vessels every year having maximum length overall up to 60 metre and beam width up to 15 metre. The project is expected to be completed by August 2023.