Union minister of road transport, highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday said the government will dredge the Brahmaputra river from Sadia in Assam to Chittagong port in Bangladesh, for which necessary formalities with the Bangladesh government have been completed.
Gadkari said the Brahmaputra National Waterway-II will have direct access to Chittagong port of Bangladesh, Haldia port of West Bengal and consequently will boost trade with Southeast Asian nations.
He said the government will provide funds for the development of 56 jetties on the banks of Brahmaputra and operationalise five more Roll-On and Roll-Off vessels to improve waterway communication in the state.
Gadkari asked the state government to identify places on the banks of the Brahmaputra which can be developed into ports and submit a report to the union ministry.
Gadkari said at least 2,000 km of state roads will be converted into national highways and five logistic parks will be constructed to decongest important towns.
The express highway project along the Brahmaputra will be developed at an estimated investment of Rs 40,000 crore, Gadkari said.
“Northeast is our priority. We are going to develop the first express highway of the northeast in Assam along the banks of the Brahmaputra. This 1,300 km-long express highway is likely to incur an investment of Rs 40,000 crore,” he said at the closing ceremony of the Namami Brahmaputra festival.
“The sand and soil coming from the dredging of the Brahmaputra will be utilised for construction of the road,” Gadkari said, adding that the express highway will be axis-controlled and vehicles will be able to ply at very high speeds.
A tripartite agreement was signed for dredging and construction of the express highway between the Assam government, the National Highways Authority of India and the Inland Waterways of India.