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Any effort which is directed towards augmenting the economic development of the resource-rich but fund-strapped North Eastern region of the country is always welcome. Inland Water Authority of India and Hooghly Shipyard Limited signing an agreement for setting up a new ship repair facilities also known as shipway at Pandu port in August 2021 is certainly an encouraging development. The need for such a project is long felt in the region given the fact that it lacks such facilities in the region. In absence of these facilities, ships have to be sent to Kolkata for repair/dry-docking, but the problem with this system is that it is extremely costly, inconvenient and time-taking. This proposed project at the Pandu port considered as the most important and largest river port in Assam, will not only avert unnecessary large haulage at Kolkata for repair/dry-docking, but also save a long distance of 2,500 km and 35-40 days voyage period. And, above all, the shipway will help boost the region’s economy, besides triggering much-needed employment opportunities for the local people through enhanced waterways connectivity for transportation of cargo and movement of passengers.

            The  ship-way of  75-crore, however, will be developed and spread over a land of 3.67 acres. The upcoming ship repair facility will be the first of its kind in the region. What in fact worthy to note here considering the project is that, given the expected rise in vessels in the future triggered by the ship repair facilities for transporting large cargo from the region, there will be certainly a growing demand for ship repair and maintenance. Which  in turn will result in more activities in rivers thus leading to creating more avenues of employment and entrepreneurship in the region.

           So the execution of the upcoming project expected to be completed by August 2023, can literally play a significant role in  brightening the prospect of the rapid economic development of the region through ensuring enhanced, seamless waterways connectivity for the movement of large cargo. The Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal’s timely emphasis on facilitating uninterrupted cargo transportation over the Brahmaputra river by the end of the year is a welcome move. As the Brahmaputra connects Assam with Bangladesh, making proper use of this connectivity can pave the way for a resilient international waterway. This in turn is bound to not only avoid mounting pressure of traffic on the roads of cities, especially the chicken-neck Siliguri corridor that connects the North East with the rest of the country but also ensure pollution, ennui-free journey which will again be cost-effective, besides triggering economic growth in the region.  

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