11th Nov 2017 10:11:PM Editorials
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News



It is estimated that the North Eastern Region has about 1,800 kilometers of river routes that can be used by steamers and large country boats. The Centre is trying to tap this potential in the region under the direction of PM Narendra Modi.

In Arunachal Pradesh the rivers Lohit, Subansiri, Burhi Dihing, Noa Dihing, and Tirap are used for navigation by small country boats in those stretches where there are no rapids. The residents of eastern part of Arunachal were using the river link for ages and were totally dependent on the Lohit for travelling to Assam until recently when the Dhola-Sadiya bridge was inaugurated. Likewise, Sunarighat on the Brahmaputra has been an important ferry ghat for the Arunachali people of the western part.

Developing inland waterways will therefore have a huge positive impact on not just human movement but also freight traffic potential.

Northeast India has many large and small rivers providing facilities for water transport, especially in their plains sections. From the ancient period until roads were constructed, the Brahmaputra and Barak rivers were commonly used as the medium of transport. During the period of British rule the Brahmaputra and Barak-Surma rivers were used extensively for transport and trade between northeast India and the port of Calcutta (now Kolkata). With the growth of the tea industry these rivers became important carriers of trade. The East India Company started the water route along the Brahmaputra from Kolkata to Dibrugarh in 1844 and steamships were introduced by the Joint Steamer Company in 1847. However, with the partition of India in 1947, water transport received a serious blow as a foreign country was born between northeast India and the port of Kolkata. 

The NDA government has awakened to this potential and announced during the 2013-2014 budget session, national waterway-6 which aims to push cargo transport through Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, Manipur, Tripura and Arunachal Pradesh.

Water transport, as opposed to other modes of transport, where infrastructure is to be laid from the start, is naturally accessible. Rivers just need to be trained, managed and upgraded as necessary. Success stories from developed countries have evinced that inland water transport is cost effective, relatively fuel efficient, environment friendly and more employment generating—all hallmarks of economic vitality and growth.

While this task is far from easy as India’s waterways are increasingly being plagued by plethora of technical challenges. The basic prerequisite of water transport is the consistent availability of water flow; however most of our rivers have considerably shrunk due to deforestation and erosion. Despite the odds, it is an uphill task worth taking. (with inputs)


Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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