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Business News/ News / India/  MV Ram Prasad Bismil, longest vessel to sail on Brahmaputra, completes pilot run

New Delhi: MV Ram Prasad Bismil, the longest vessel to set sail on the Brahmaputra, completed its pilot run of heavy cargo movement on Tuesday. The 90-meter-long flotilla started from Haldia Dock in Kolkata and anchored at Pandu port in Guwahati.

The vessel along with two barges - DB Kalpana Chawla and DB APJ Abdul Kalam - were flagged off from the Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port in Haldia by Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways (PSW), Sarbananda Sonowal on 16 February 2022.

The significance of this pilot run lays down the path for commencement of barging operation from Kolkata to Guwahati via Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBRP).

The consignment - loaded with 1,793 MT of steel rods from Tata Steel in Jamshedpur - had a requirement of draft of 2.0 meters. The engineering marvel of this consignment remains at maintaining the minimum navigational draft of at least 2.0 meters, especially at critical stretches like Sirajganj - Daikowa stretch of IBPR.

India and Bangladesh governments funded the dredging of this stretch - with 80:20 ratio respectively. The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) as well as Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTA) worked together so that this cargo movement can move smoothly.

“The vision of our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, is to energise the Ashtalakshmi potential of Northeast to power the growth engine of India. Under his vision of ‘Transformation through Transportation,’ we worked tirelessly to rejuvenate the water transport in the region. This is not only the cheapest & ecologically most adapt mode of transportation, it also allows the long awaited connect for the business of Northeast through the marine network with the rest of the world," Sonowal said.

The minimum available depth for the last two fiscal years; i.e. FY2019-20 and FY2020-21, between Dhubri and Pandu stretch was 2.2 meters at Brahmaputra. As per recent LAD report, this depth depleted further and drastically reduced to 1.5 metres in January, 2022. From Chilmari to Daikhawa, the required depth of 2.2 meters was confirmed by BITWA (Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority).

“As the pilot run of this longest vessel plying on the Brahmaputra anchors a success at Pandu today, we must recognise that this was made possible by the team to chalk out a working route during this season of challenging depth at many stretches. We remain deeply committed to bring business viability of water transport in Assam and reinvigorate the vitality of Brahmaputra as Northeast India’s economic fortune," the minister added.

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Swati Luthra
Swati Luthra writes on climate change, water, environment and forest issues for Mint. A graduate in Psychology, Swati has been mapping India’s policy initiatives to help meet the pledges made at CoP-26 including achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2070.
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Updated: 15 Mar 2022, 02:52 PM IST
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