To exploit the rivers and other water bodies in the country for transportation of passengers and cargo, the NDA government has proposed to develop 140 waterways, of which six will be in Telangana.
"The six waterways in Telangana will come up on Manjira, Bhima, Ponganga/Wardha, Tungabhadra, Wainganga/Pranahita and Krishna/Godavari. The cabinet has cleared the proposal for developing the waterways and the bill will be passed in the next session of Parliament," Union transport, highways and shipping minister Nitin Gadkari said at a press conference here on Monday.
According to him, like airport and bus depots, a water port will come up at these places. While transportation via road costs about Rs 1.50 per km, by railways it is Re 1 and by waterways the cost comes down to 30 paisa per km. Thus, transportation via waterways would be five times cheaper than road, Gadkari added.
West Bengal will have 14 waterways, the highest in the country, followed by nine in Uttar Pradesh. In the south, apart from Telangana, eight waterways will come up in Tamil Nadu.
Gadkari also noted that Telangana does not have a port and said the Centre is ready to offer a dry port to the new state. According to sources, the NDA government had agreed to the request of the TRS government for three dry ports. "We had told them to come back to us with the locations. They are still to respond," said the sources.
The minister also spelt out the works being carried out by the Centre on highways in Telangana. "Of the total 2,725 km of highways in the state, 768 km is with the National Highways Authority of India and the rest with the Telangana PWD department. There are 18 ongoing projects on national highways in Telangana amounting to Rs 2,590.2 crore covering a length of 585.8 km. They are in various stages of progress," he said. Apart from these, there are 26 projects in the pipeline covering a length of 920 km at a cost of Rs 6,400 crore, he added.
Replying to questions, Gadkari spoke at length on the land acquisition bill, refused to comment on the display of Pakistani flags in Kashmir and feigned ignorance about the cash-for-vote scam involving TDP MLA Revanth Reddy. The minister later interacted with farmers from Telangana on the land acquisition bill.