Chennai, May 4:
The central government is expected to table a bill soon to convert 101 waterways into National Waterways in a bid to boost waterways traffic.
In March this year, the union cabinet gave its approval for a law to declare 101 inland waterways as national waterways, officials said.
The 101 waterways cover almost all the major river/canal systems.
The proposed law would enable the central government to develop the waterways for navigation.
While the usage of water, land ownership, sand and minerals would continue to be under the state government, the development and regulation would be with the central government.
The plan is to develop inland waterway transport as well as taking away sizeable road traffic.
The cost per km of waterways transportation is cheaper than that of road and railways.
Till date five waterways have been declared national waterways.
Speaking at a meeting of the Parliamentary Consultative Committee of the ministry of shipping on April 9, Road transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said the development of waterways found feasible for navigation would commence from 2016-17. (IANS)