A very bright chapter in India’s modern history was visible to the public in November 2018 when Prime Minister Narendra Modi had inaugurated the first Multi-Modal Terminal (MMT) on river Ganga at Varanasi. September 12 marks the next milestone as the second among three MMT on Ganga is ready at Sahibganj at Jharkhand.
Why it should be looked at as a historic moment? Simply put, it is not akin to adding another route to an already existing highways network or improving upon it. Developing National Waterways is the concept that really took off after Modi government came to power. In this sense it is really about carving a new path for new India.
History in Making – The Context
Just bring the map of India before your eyes and consider the below facts and then you will understand the significance of this development of Sahibganj in Jharkhand on the river Ganga having a Multi-Modal Terminal.
Although India has a 7,500-km-long coastline, with approximately 14,500 km of navigable waterways, coastal shipping accounts for only 6% and inland water transport for about 0.4% of trade. In contrast, 60% of goods in India travel by congested roads and 25% via the rail network.
According to World Bank estimation, the cost of transport of one tonne of freight over one kilometre of road is Rs 2.28, by rail it is Rs 1.41 and by waterways, it is only Rs 1.19. Therefore, the advantages of using our waterways would appear to be self-evident.
Significance of Sahibganj MMT
- It will open up industries of Jharkhand and Bihar to the global market
- Paves way for Indo-Nepal cargo connectivity
- Transportation of domestic coal from the local mines in Rajmahal area to various thermal power plants located along National Water Ways 1.
- The convergence of Road-Rail-River Transport at Sahibganj through the new multi-modal terminal will connect this part of the hinterland to Kolkata, Haldia and further to the Bay of Bengal.
- Connects Jharkhand to North-East States through Bangladesh by river-sea route.
- Expected to create direct employment of about 600 people and indirect employment of about 3000 people in the region.
Historically, India’s civilization, livelihood, culture, and commerce have evolved on the banks of rivers and the Ganga has played a major role. With the second Multi-Modal Terminal on river Ganga being dedicated to nation by the Prime Minister today, India is truly witnessing another glorious chapter in making. You may read a detailed take on this subject in our article from the archive Developing India’s Inland Waterways: A Socio-Economic Revolution in the Making