Inland Waterways Authority of India is looking at an increased pace in business activity and infrastructure expansion at the multi-modal terminal (MMT) in Varanasi, following completion of the first phase. Officials overseeing the project claim that along with the initial cargo movers PepsiCo and Maersk, now Dabur India, Emami Agrotech and Iffco have come use the National Waterways (NW-1) and the water terminal at MMT.
“Major movements have happened from MMT at Varanasi alone. This includes cargo belonging to PepsiCo, Dabur, Iffco and Maersk Line, which is the world’s largest container shipping firm. Such major firms using NW-1 reinforces the confidence of cargo operators and owners in the upcoming IWT sector in India,” a senior IWAI official said.
The Jal Marg Vikas Project from Varanasi to Haldia on NW-1 would have an Economic Internal Rate of Return of 21.40 per cent, as calculated by the consultants engaged to carry out “Detailed Feasibility Study for Capacity Augmentation of NW-1 and Detailed Engineering for its Ancillary Works.”
Officials said to ensure the continuity of the vessel movement across NW-1 and bring in global best practices and efficiencies, global bid process is being carried out to select private party for operations and management of Varanasi terminal.
“Any further investment on infrastructure expansion at the facility will be undertaken by the private party leading to reduced burden on expenditure of Government of India. Request for Qualification has already been done and four globally reputed firms have already been shortlisted. All this is part of the original plan and pretty much in line with the stipulated time frames. The Public Private Partnership Appraisal Committee has already given an approval on the bid documents and roll out of RFP,” said an official. He did not reveal the names of the private partners.
The first phase of the MMT project, which concluded last year included berthing structure, bank protection, substation and workers amenity building, electrical works, two mobile harbour cranes, internal roads and storm water drainage. IWAI official said the external road connectivity from the water terminal with the national highway-7 is complete along with a 35 metre bridge.
The second phase includes the rail connectivity through a new line at the adjacent Jeonathpur station. “The rail connectivity work taking off from Dedicated Freight Corridor Corporation of India Limited (DFCCIL) line near Jeonathpur Station to IWAI’s Multimodal Terminal is on. The DPR for the 7.1 km rail connectivity already has an in-principle approval from DFCCIL and the Engineering Scale Plan submitted by the consultant is under review by the North Central Railway and DFCCIL,” said the official.
To expedite the project completion, land acquisition of close to 5.58 hectare for development of Varanasi terminal in Phase-1 is complete. “For Phase- 2 also, the land acquisition process for 29.169 hectare is in advanced stage even as 25.67 hectare (i.e. 90 per cent) is either in IWAI’s possession or payment has been released to the district administration,” said an official.