Guwahati: The MV Lal Bahadur Shastri, an Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) vessel, completed its pilot voyage from Bihar’s Patna to Pandu port here on Sunday, transporting grain via Bangladesh.
The ship was received at the end of the voyage by Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal, along with Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Guwahati Lok Sabha MP Queen Oja and IWAI Chairman Sanjay Bandopadhyay, among others.
The MV Lal Bahadur Shastri, a self-propelled vessel, carried 200 tons of grain for the Food Corporation of India (FCI).
The IWAI plans to operate a scheduled voyage between National Waterway-1 and National Waterway-2, ushering in a new era of inland navigation for Assam and the Northeast, according to an official press release.
The ship had set sail from Patna on February 5 on the NW-1 (River Ganga) and had covered a distance of 2,350 km.
Another ship, the MV Ram Prasad Bismil, with two barges — Kalpana Chawla and APJ Abdul Kalam — started the voyage from Haldia on February 17 and is en route to Pandu, sources said.
The ship has already reached the Bangladesh border at Dhubri (Assam).
On that occasion, Sonowal said: “Today marks the beginning of a new era of inland navigation in Assam. This offers the economy a viable, economical and ecological alternative.”
He said seamless cargo transportation is a journey of unfulfilled desires and aspirations of Assam people.
The start of cargo movement by ships via the Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBRP) marks the beginning of a new era of economic prosperity for the entire northeastern region, Sarma said.
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