Proposal to use hybrid electric boats in Guwahati and Dibrugarh, like Kochi water metro service (in photo)

Union ministry of ports, shipping and waterways has proposed hybrid electric boat services on the Brahmaputra in Guwahati and Dibrugarh in order to make inland waters a viable medium for intracity commute.

The Assam Kaziranga University admissions

Additionality inland water transport will be enabled for movement of bulk commodities to the Northeast states.

The proposals were made during a meeting of the National Sagarmala Apex Committee (NSAC) chaired by Union minister of ports, shipping & waterways, Sarbananda Sonowal on May 6 in New Delhi.

The ministry is providing a big push to the RoRo and passenger transportation through waterways as it is an environment friendly solution to mobility; simultaneously resulting in significant savings of cost and time.

To offer seamless, integrated transport services to the urban and suburban populations, and to ease the stress and congestion of daily commute the government is mulling to launch high-speed vessels alongside ferries and Ro-pax vessels.

Hybrid electric boats for urban transportation

The Kochi Metro Rail Ltd has procured 23 hybrid electric boats manufactured by Cochin Shipyard Limited, each with a capacity of 100 passengers. IWAI has proposed similar services for five locations of the country: Guwahati, Dibrugarh, Varanasi, Kolkata, and Patna, with recommendations from the Union ministry of housing and urban affairs.

As such state governments have been requested to adopt the model for multi-modal green and cheaper mode of transport.

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Directing to promote the use of electric ferries for urban water transport, the Union ministry ports, shipping and waterways has proposed to offer separate schemes for providing suitable financial assistance during the operational phase.

Furthermore, IWT is seen as an effective mode for enabling movement of bulk commodities in an eco-friendly and economical way.

Earlier, this year, IWAI had carried out a successful pilot run of 200 tonnes of food grains between Patna and Guwahati, and 2000 tonnes of steel between Haldia and Guwahati through the Ganga, Hooghly, Meghna, Brahmaputra rivers in India and Bangladesh. Through this movement the potential of waterways have been highlighted across international waters.

“This model can be replicated and upscaled for other bulk commodities including coal, LPG, fertiliser containers, integrating it with the coastal shipping. The Northeast states can benefit by reduced distance and congestion free transport,” read a statement from the ministry.

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About Barasha Das


Barasha Das is a journalist working in Northeast India region.


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