Kolkata, May 29 (IANS): The central government will be receiving the first tranche of $3.5 million from the World Bank by January 2016 for the Rs.4,200 crore estimated budget of the ambitious Jal Marg Vikas project on river Ganga, an official said here on Friday.
“The World Bank has approved $3.5 million (Rs.22.32 crore as per Friday’s exchange rate) and it will come by January, 2016,” Indian Waterways Authority of India Chairman Amitabh Verma told media persons here.
Conceived in 2014, the project is aimed at connecting Uttar Pradesh Allahabad with West Bengal’s Haldia over a distance of 1,620 km.
The World Bank is scheduled to fund 50 percent of the project, with the central government providing the remaining amount.
The big-ticket Jal Marg Vikas project has the potential to connect Haldia, Howrah, Kolkata, Bhagalpur, Patna, Ghazipur, Varanasi and Allahabad.
It is also important as it can serve the eastern mining belt and provide an efficient means to ferry coal, iron ore, bauxite, mica and several other minerals. The rail and road corridors in this region are nearly saturated.
East India forms a good grid for inland waterway connectivity as it is dotted with numerous navigable rivers and can connect the north-eastern states through the network of rivers. Besides, there is also a possibility of ferrying cargo to and from Bangladesh.