Port Wings News Network:
In collaboration with the Government of Assam, Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) will be starting a new Roll on-Roll off (Ro-Ro) facility to provide the much-needed connectivity for Majuli Island. The Chief Minister of Assam Shri Sarbananda Sonowal will flag off a new Ro-Ro Service on 11 October, 2018. This Ro-Ro facility will cut down the circuitous road route of 423 KMs that trucks take from Neamati to Majuli Island via Tezpur Road Bridge, by limiting the distance to only 12.7 KM with the use of river route.
IWAI has procured a new vessel MV Bhupen Hazarika at a cost of Rs 9.46 Crore for the new service and is providing the needed terminal infrastructure too. The 46.5-metre-long, 13.3-metre-wide vessel has the carrying capacity of eight trucks and 100 passengers. IWAI is also planning to procure more such Ro-Ro vessels for use on river Brahmaputra.
Majuli is one of the biggest riverine islands in the world located on river Brahmaputra and faces serious challenges of connectivity. It has 144 villages with a population of over 1,50,000. The commencement of Ro-Ro services to Majuli island would be a landmark event towards augmenting connectivity not only in Assam but the entire North Eastern Region. Currently, there are only four road bridges across river Brahmaputra – at Jogighopa, Guwahati, Tezpur and Sadiya for connectivity between southern and northern parts of Assam. People residing on either side of the river need to cross the river using conventional ferry service at various locations for their day to day needs. In absence of adequate number of bridges, cargo and passenger movement takes through longer road routes leading to critical loss of time and money.
Earlier, IWAI had started a similar Ro-Ro service between Dhubri and Hatsingimari which reduced the travel distance by 190 KMs. A permanent Ro-Ro terminal was constructed at Dhubri for the purpose. Floating terminals have also been constructed at 11 locations along the length of the Brahmaputra waterway. These are at Hatsingimari, Dhubri, Jogighopa, Tezpur, Silghat, Biswanathghat, Neamati, Sengajan, Bogibeel, Dibugarh/ Oakland and Oriumghat.