Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Monday said the government would invest Rs 60,000 crore by 2047 in river cruise tourism and the development of green vessels. “We are going to invest Rs 45,000 crore in river cruise, which will take the passenger capacity from 2 lakh to 15 lakh by 2047,” he said on the sidelines of the first Inland Waterways Development Council meeting here.
Sonowal also said the government aims to invest another Rs 15,000 crore in green transport over the next 10 years to develop 1,000 vessels and ferries. “In total, there will be a Rs 60,000-crore investment by 2047, and it will be through the public-private partnership (PPP) model. The projects will help generate thousands of jobs,” the Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways said.
The council meeting, represented by officials of around 20 states and Union territories, also saw the unveiling of Harit Nauka’s guidelines for the green transition of inland vessels and the River Cruise Tourism Roadmap 2047. The day-long meeting on a cruise vessel, was conducted by Sonowal to streamline and advance the development of waterways involving states and central government agencies.
The sessions covered topics such as fairway development, private sector engagement and best practices, optimising cargo transport efficiency in Inland Water Transport (IWT), fostering the promotion and development of eco-friendly vessels for passenger transportation, exploring the economic advantages of river cruise tourism, among others. An official of the Inland Waterways Authority of India said the meeting was attended by the West Bengal transport secretary. He said the state government has also sought help for dredging some rivers.
“We will assist in dredging and building approximately 20 community jetties, which will be handed over to the state,” the official added.