Jal Marg Vikas Project – Benefits and Concerns

Jal Marg Vikas Project


UPSC Mains General Studies Paper II

Topic: Indian Economy and Economic Development

Infrastructure: Energy, Ports, Roads, Airports, Railways etc..


Why Jal Marg Vikas Project is in News?

  •  IWAI recently held a large public outreach along Ganga for Jal Marg Vikas Project.
  • Two-Day long advocacy meetings were held in Jharkhand leg of Ganga.

What is Jal Marg Vikas Project?

  • The Jal Marg Vikas Project will facilitate plying of vessels with capacity of 1,500-2,000 tonnes in the Haldia- Varanasi stretch of the River Ganga.
  • Major works that are being taken up under Jal Marg Vikas Project are the development of fairway, Multi-Modal Terminals, strengthening of river navigation system, conservancy works, modern River Information System (RIS), Digital Global Positioning System (DGPS), night navigation facilities, modern methods of channel marking etc.

Implementation of Jal Marg Vikas Project:

  • The Jal Marg Vikas Project or JMVP, is expected to get completed by March, 2023
  • The JMVP is being implemented with the financial and technical support of the World Bank.
  • It will enable commercial navigation of vessels with the capacity of 1500-2,000 tons on National Waterway-1

What are the potential benefits of Jal Marg Vikas Project (JMVP) ?

  • JMVP will provide an alternative mode of transport
  • This transport mode will be environment friendly and cost-effective.
  • The JMVP will help in bringing down the logistics cost in the country.
  • Huge employment generation due to Mammoth Infrastructure development like multi-modal and inter-modal terminals, Roll on – Roll off (Ro-Ro) facilities, ferry services, navigation aids.

Jal marg vikas project

What are the Environmental Challenges to JMVP?

  • The JMVP does not account for the monetary value of the environmental costs that are imposed upon society.
  • Threat to Aquatic life: The river Ganga meanders across the landscape and spreads over its riverbed making pools and shallow areas in which Fish and turtles lay eggs. But thanks to dredging  being done in the river Ganga under the NW-1 project, the river is now channelized in one deep channel. The river no longer meanders and no longer has pools and shallow areas which is destroying the habitat of fish and turtles.
  • Threat to Turtles: The stretch of the Ganga near Varanasi has been declared as a turtle sanctuary. As per various studies large numbers get hit by fast-moving tourist boats because turtles move slowly.
  • Threat to Ganges Dolphin: The river Ganga stretch near Bhagalpur has been declared a wildlife sanctuary for the conservation of the Ganges Dolphin. It catches its prey by the sound made by the movement of other aquatic creatures as it does not have eyes. The plying of large barges will create a high level of sound making it difficult for Ganges Dolphin to survive.
  • Threat due to the paint: The paint on ships and barges will pollute the water of Ganga.
  • Threat due to CO2 released: The carbon dioxide released by the ships will be is absorbed more by the water because of its proximity and this too will pollute the river.

How can the Environmental Challenges to JMVP be mitigated?

  • Ban on dredging in protected habitat areas.
  • No dredging should be allowed in the breeding and spawning seasons in areas that are known to be the habitat of valued aquatic species,
  • The speed of barges travelling along the protected areas of the sanctuaries should be restricted to 5km per hour.
  • All vessels plying on the waterway should be fitted with noise control devices and animal exclusion devices to not disturb the aquatic life.
  • All vessels should comply with `zero discharge’ standards to prevent solid or liquid waste from flowing into the river and affecting the biodiversity.
  • Way Forward: It must be ensured  that the small direct benefits from cheaper transportation shall not have large environmental costs.

What is IWAI and where is IWAI located?

  • Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the statutory authority in charge of the waterways in India.
  • Mandate: building the necessary infrastructure in these waterways, surveying the economic feasibility of new projects and also administration.
  • Its headquarters is located in Noida, UP.

Which is the National Waterway-1?

  • The National Waterway-1 (NW-1) or Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system is located in India and runs from Haldia (Sagar) to Allahabad across the Ganges, Bhagirathi and Hooghly river systems.
  • The National Waterway-1 is 1,620 km  long
  • It is the longest waterway in India
  • The National Waterway-1 passes through states of  West Bengal, Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttar Pradesh.

How many National Waterways are there in India?

  • There are 111 officially notified Inland National Waterways (NWs) in India as per The National Waterways Act, 2016.
  • Out of the 111 NWs, 106 were created in 2016.
  • NW-1:Allahabad- Haldia stretch of the Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly Rivers
  • NW-2: Sadiya-Dhubri stretch of Brahmaputra River
  • NW-3: Kollam-Kozhikode stretch of West Coast Canal and Champakara canal and Udyogmandal canal
  • NW-4: (a) Kakinada-Puducherry stretch of canals and the Kaluvelly Tank.
    (b) Nashik-Bhadrachalam-Rajahmundry stretch of Godavari River.
    (c) The bridge near village Galagali-Wazirabad-Vijayawada stretch of Krishna River.
  • NW-5: (a) Talcher-Dhamra stretch of Brahmani River-Kharsua River-Tantighai River-Pandua Nala-Dudhei Nala-Kani Dhamra River.
    (b) Geonkhali-Charbatia stretch of East Coast Canal.
    (c) Harbatia-Dhamra stretch of Matai River and Mahanadi Delta Rivers

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