World Bank approves $105 million loan to improve Waterways in West Bengal

The World Bank has signed a $105 million project with the Government of India and the Government of West Bengal to improve the inland water transport infrastructure in Kolkata, West Bengal. The $105 million loans from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a maturity of 17 years, including a grace period of 7 years.

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The West Bengal Inland Water Transport, Logistics and Spatial Development Project will improve passenger and freight movement across the Hooghly river as well as improve accessibility in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area, enhance the quality of life of its residents and contribute to the growth of the state’s logistics sector. The project will cover the five most populous districts of southern West Bengal, including its urban agglomeration — the Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA) where around 30 million people or one-third of West Bengal’s population live.

About the Project:

  • In the first phase, the project will enhance the capacity and improve the safety of the Inland Water Transport system; including rehabilitating existing jetties, buying new ferries with enhanced design; and installing electronic gates in 40 locations.
  • In the second phase, it will support long-term investments for passenger movements, including in terminals and jetties; improve the design of the inland water transport vessels; ensure night navigation on the most hazardous and trafficked routes and crossing points, and encourage the private sector to invest in Ro-Ro vessels that will allow easier movement of trucks across the Hooghly river.
  • In addition, the project will facilitate disabled-friendly amenities, ensure women’s safety and encourage women’s employment in the IWT Department as well as with the ferry operators.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of West Bengal: Mamata Banerjee; Governor: Jagdeep Dhankhar.

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