Guwahati, August 27 : Stressing that waterways is the cheapest and an eco-friendly medium of transportation, Chief Minister of Assam Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma today called on the exporters and business communities to tap the vast advantage of the waterways in the Northeast region to the hilt. The state Chief Minister was addressing the Stakeholders’ Conclave for North-Eastern Region on ‘Waterways as Engine for Growth’ at Assam Administrative Staff College in Guwahati.
Chief Minister Dr Sarma also urged the Cochin Shipyard Limited to design some good quality river ambulances for delivering better medical services to the riverine population of the State.
The Chief Minister thanked Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal for his initiatives in rejuvenating the waterways sector for the benefit of the North-Eastern region. He said that as 95% of county’s trade takes place through waterways, a very lucrative career option is available in this sector for the young generation.
Assam Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma along with Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal attended the Conclave in the presence of Industries, Transport etc. Assam’s Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary, Assam’s Water Resources Minister Pijush Hazarika, Union MoS for MoPSW Shantanu Thakur and several others ministers from the North-Eastern States.
Several issues for harnessing the potential of the waterways of the North-Eastern region for its proper utilization were discussed during the conclave.
Chief Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma pointed out that while the potential of the region’s waterways remained dormant and unexplored for a long period after Independence, it was under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi only that the waterways sector received a new thrust in the north-east.
Speaking at the conclave, Union Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal announced that as per request of Chief Minister Dr Sarma, his ministry would set up a maritime institute in Assam.
Urging the local exporters to take advantage of the waterways for transportation of their cargos, the Union Minister called upon all North-Eastern States to prepare proposals for developing the existing waterways of their respective States.
Assam’s Minister of Industries Chandra Mohan Patowary and Union Minister of State for MoPSW Shantanu Thakur also spoke at the Conclave. Vice Chairman & Chairman i/c, IWAI Jayant Singh; Secretary, MoPSW Sanjeev Ranjan; Director General of Shipping Amitabh Kumar; Chairman of Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port Trust (SPMPT) Vinit Kumar and Chairman of Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) Madhu S. Nair, several industry leaders, representatives from various business organizations, exporters’ associations alongwith senior Central and State Government officials were present at the Guwahati conclave.