The IWAI awarded the construction work under Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) on November 24.
A navigational lock is a device used for raising and lowering ships or vessels between stretches of water of different levels on river and canal waterways.
The existing lock gate at Farakka which has been operational since 1978, is old and inefficient.
The Jal Marg Vikas Project, which is being implemented in National Waterway-1 on the Ganga river, was taken with technical and financial assistance of the World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs 5,369 crore for plying of vessels of 1500-2,000 tonnes capacity.
Since the modernisation of the existing lock will entail closing down the lock gate for to 8-10 months, it was decided to first build a new navigational lock and subsequently undertake the modernisation of the existing lock, a company official said.
With the existing lock, it takes about two hours or more for a vessel to pass upstream or downstream of Farakka. With the new lock it will take only 38 minutes for a vessel to pass through, a company statement said.
If a vessel is followed by another vessel in the reverse direction, the operating time will be 23 minutes only, it added.
Under the project, the contract for construction of Multi-Modal Terminal at Varanasi and Sahibganj was awarded respectively in May and October.
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