GUWAHATI, Dec 29: The much anticipated Assam Inland Water Transport Project (AIWTP) funded by the World Bank has received no-objection certificates from the two riparian countries – China and Bangladesh.
The project has been taken up by the Assam Government to improve the quality of inland water transport services and integrate ferry services in the Brahmaputra and Barak rivers. Dispur had forwarded the proposal of the project to the Centre seeking assistance from the World Bank for implementation.
In its project appraisal report, World Bank stated that since the Brahmaputra is an international waterway, it was mandatory for the project to have a no-objection certificate from the riparian countries.
World Bank further stated that the project would strengthen relationship among the countries. Worl Bank is likely to get all the approvals for the project within a month. According to the bank sources, all the planning and design for the AIWTP have been aimed at fully avoiding or absolutely minimizing, where possible, any potential adverse trans-boundary effects.
The design of the project also ensures that there is no pollution of the river and it will not hinder the quality and quantity of flow in the trans-boundary rivers.
World Bank will assist the Assam Government in executing the project in phases and wil extend support in procuring new vessels, upgrading ferry terminals besides retrofitting existing vessels.
The Brahmaputra basin covers 580,000 square km across four countries — China (50 per cent), India (34 per cent), Bangladesh (8 per cent) and Bhutan (8 per cent). In India, the catchment area spreads over Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Bengal, Meghalaya, Nagaland and Sikkim, covering nearly 5.9 per cent of the total geographical area of the country.