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World Bank sanctions Rs 770 crore to improve river transportation in Assam: CM Himanta Biswa

World Bank sanctions Rs 770 crore to improve river transportation in Assam: CM Himanta Biswa

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World Bank sanctions Rs 770 crore for Assam World Bank sanctions Rs 770 crore for Assam

GUWAHATI: The Inland Water Transport (IWT) department has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the World Bank for a Rs 770 crore loan to improve river transportation in the state.

The central government would refund 80% of the sanctioned amount, with the state government bearing the remaining 20%, the chief minister said on November 8, 2021, as he flagged off four steel catamaran vessels at Pandu Port.

According to the chief minister, the catamaran vessels were launched as part of World Bank-funded project to integrate high-quality passenger and vehicle ferry services into the state's larger transportation network system.

The Brahmaputra and Barak rivers and their tributaries have nurtured Assam's culture and civilization, but they also pose communication challenges for people living on their banks, said CM Sarma.

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Following the Majuli boat accident in September, the state government has taken an aggressive approach to make river transportation more convenient and secure, said CM Sarma.

The newly launched vessels can carry 100 passengers and 50 two-wheelers and are powered by 180 HP twin engines that can travel at forward speed of 10 knots.

Two of the four vessels will cross the Brahmaputra at Majuli, with one ferry connecting Guwahati and North Guwahati, as well as Uzanbazar and Umananda.

The vessels are advanced equipment such as control and monitoring, communication and navigation, GPS, wind measurement, lifesaving, and firefighting equipment.

CM Sarma also launched an e-ticketing system for the Umananda ferry service, allowing tourists to pre-book their tickets and thus aiding in ferry operations management.

This is the second ferry service e-ticketing initiative.