The central government and Assam state government signed a USD 88 million loan agreement with the World Bank on January 16, 2020 to implement the Assam Inland Water Transport Project.
The project aims to modernise the infrastructure and services of Assam’s passenger ferry sector, which operates on its rivers including the Brahmaputra.
Assam has more than 361 ferry routes and a majority of them cross the Brahmaputra or serve its islands. The service is a crucial means of transport for thousands of commuters in both the urban and rural areas of the state.
Assam Inland Water Transport Project
The main aim of the project is to transform Assam’s passenger ferry infrastructure and services and strengthen the capacity of institutions running the system.
The project will pave the way for technically better-designed terminals and energy-efficient vessels. It will make the ferry services more environmentally sustainable.
The Assam Inland Water Transport Project will boost Assam government’s efforts to corporatise its ferry activities.
The Assam state government has decided to modernize its extremely vital passenger ferry sector, as it continues to remain largely informal.
Under the new changes, the Assam Shipping Company (ASC) will operate the government ferries, while the Assam Ports Company (APC) will provide terminal services on a common-user basis to both public and private ferry operators.
The inland water transport is the most sustainable mode of transport in Assam, as it is affordable. In total, there are around 15 waterways in Assam on rivers including Tiwang, Barak, Kopili, Puthimari, Doyang and Lohit.