The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval to transfer of 14.86 hectares of land from Farakka Barrage Project under the Ministry of Water Resources to Inland Waterways Authority of India under the Ministry of Shipping for construction of a new navigational lock parallel to the existing navigational lock at Farakka.
The details are as follows:-
i. Transfer of 14.86 hectares of land from Farakka Barrage Project (FBP), Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation (MoWR, RD & GR) to Ministry of Shipping for construction of the new navigational lock at Farakka.
ii. The cost of the land is Rs.2,35,80,160/- (Rupees two crore, thirty five lakh, eighty thousand, one hundred sixty only) approximately. Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) will bear this cost.
iii. Construction of the navigational lock is a subproject of Jal Marg Vikas Project. The new lock will ensure smooth and seamless movement of vessels on NW-1.
The advantage of construction of new navigation lock at Farakka are given below:-
a) The existing lock is unable to handle the number of vessels currently passing through it efficiently and effectively. At present, considerable time is taken for the vessels to pass the existing navigational lock. Therefore, need for construction of an additional lock to facilitate easy passage of vessels through the lock, given the anticipated increase in the number of vessels and volume of cargo that are expected to pass through it in future after implementation of the Jal Marg Vikas Project;
b) The process of modernization/up-gradation/repair of the existing navigational lock is time consuming and will put it out of operation during the period of repair. Construction of the new navigational lock therefore is an inescapable option for uninterrupted movement of vessels.
c) IWAI, a statutory body under the Ministry of Shipping, is the nodal authority responsible for regulation and development of inland waterways for the purposes of shipping and navigation. It is, therefore, within its mandate to build, maintain, operate and manage the navigational locks.
The works shall be planned/executed in such a manner that the existing arrangements about sharing of Ganga water at Farakka, as per Ganga Water Treaty-1996 between India and Bangladesh, are not affected.
Ministry of Shipping would work out detailed modalities for construction of new navigational lock as well as modernization of the existing navigational lock at Farakka in consultation with Mo WR, RD & GR/FBP in a phased manner to ensure seamless navigation on NW-1.
i. IWAI is implementing Jal Marg Vikas Project for capacity augmentation of navigation on National Waterway – 1 on Allahabad – Haldia stretch of Ganga – Bhagarathi Hooghly River System with technical and investment support of the World Bank.
ii. A navigational Lock is already in operation at Farakka under the control of Farakka Barrage Project (FBP) since 1987. This lock needs modernization.
iii. The first Scooping Mission of World Bank (August 2014) had recommended maintenance and up-gradation works at the existing navigational lock, along with construction of a new lock. The objectives of Jal Marg Vikas Project can be fully achieved if the navigation upstream of the Farakka navigational lock is synchronized to match that downstream of the navigational lock. This is possible only if the second navigational lock is in position at Farakka.