Jharkhand’s backward Sahebganj district is all set to emerge as a new industrial hub with Prime Minister Narendra Modi laying the foundation stone for a multi-modal terminal (MMT) and a six-kilometre bridge over the Ganga on Thursday. The MMT is the part of the Centre’s ambitious 1,620-km inland waterways project worth Rs 467 crore on the Ganga between Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh and Haldia in West Bengal, which will touch important cities like Kolkata, Varanasi and Sahebganj. “The terminal will play a significant role in transportation of coal, iron ore, stone chips, minerals and fertilisers to other parts of the country. The waterways project will also open the door of international trade through the Bay of Bengal,” Modi said Union minister for road transport, highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari said the first phase of the project spanning 1300 km from Varanasi to Haldia is underway and the Centre has already sanctioned Rs 280 crore in this regard.The project envisages improving navigability of the river as it passes through four states — Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal. The proposed terminal at Sahebganj is the second out of three multi-modal terminals planned under the Ganga Jal Marg Vikas Project. The other terminals would be built at Haldia and Varanasi. Gadkari said the terminal at Sahebganj will have facilities, including berthing space for two vessels, stockyard for storing, belt conveyor system with fixed hoppers, barge loader, shore protection works, roads, ramps and parking area, and terminal buildings.Gadkari said several items such as soya bean oil, which will come from Haldia, will cost Rs 2 less from the current market price due to cheaper transportation cost. “If transportation cost through road is Rs 1.5 and rail Re 1, it will cost only 20 paise through waterway,” Gadkari said. With the targeted completion of Phase-1 in 2019, the state-of-the-art terminal will have a cargo handling capacity of 2.28 million tonnes per annum (MMTA).“The terminal will prove to be a growth engine for Jharkhand and Sahebgaj will emerge as industrial hub,” Gadkari said, adding “if the state government provides land, we would like to develop a new smart city in Sahebganj.”Besides three multi-modal terminals, two ultra-modern terminals will be established at Gazipur and Kalughat and build 40 terminals at Rs 2250 crore, he said. “The inland waterways project will generate five lakh jobs,” Gadkari said, adding, the river information system would be set up like ATC for air services. Gadkari said the government will also start Roll-on Roll-off (RoRo) crossing services in seven places. Jharkhand chief minister Raghubar Das said the proposed six-km bridge over the Ganga river and a multi-modal terminal at Sahebganj will give a new strength to the state economy.