According to sources, IWAI had sought Rs 1,884.13 crore from the government for its projects which are at various stages of implementation. The allocation, however, is only 40 percent of that amount.
The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has sent a proposal to the finance ministry to be allowed to raise at least Rs 1,000 crore via market to finance waterways’ projects.
“We are going to the government separately to allow us to raise extra budgetary resources of Rs 1,000 crore,” Pravir Pandey, vice chairman, IWAI told Moneycontrol.
He said that the Authority has already moved the proposal and is hoping to receive the government’s nod soon.
IWAI was allocated Rs 757 crore during the interim budget of 2019-20, down from last year’s revised allocation of Rs 891.13 crore.
According to sources, IWAI had sought a whooping Rs 1,884.13 crore from the government for its projects which are at various stages of implementation. The allocation, however, is only 40 percent of that amount.Also read: Budget 2019: Allocation for inland waterways declines despite Centre’s push for infrastructure
Grants to IWAI stand at Rs 450 crore in 2019-20 coupled with allocation towards its projects at Rs 307 crore. While the grants are marginally higher from Rs 384.95 crore, allocation towards the work has been reduced from Rs 497.54 crore in 2018-19 (revised estimate).
“While the funding for Jal Marg Vikas Project is not an issue as we are working in association with World Bank, so we are getting the funding… But work on other waterways could be an issue,” Pandey said.
IWAI and World Bank are working together for the development of national waterways-1 from Varanasi to Haldia. Of the total $ 800 million, $ 375 million would be given by WB, $ 380 million will be provided by the Centre and the remaining $ 40 to 45 million will be routed through private sector.
Officials said that projects under inland waterways will peak in two-three years, thus, while the Authority will manage project financing with the allocation this year, it will require more funds from next year onwards.
“Projects always have a bell curve... So initially, projects have studies, detailed project reports (DPRs) are being readied, where there is no significant cost as such. The cost begin to peak in second-third year of implementation when we are at the completion stage. And then again, it begins to fall when we wrap it up...," an official from IWAI said adding, "Now, because we will touch peak of the curve by next year (FY21), we will be able to manage with this year's allocation".
He said that IWAI will need huge sums of money by 2020-21 owing to various works being undertaken across National Waterways 2, 4 and 16.
NW 2 and 16 are in the north-eastern state of Assam. While NW2 is from Dhubri to Sadiya across Brahmaputra, NW 16 is across Barak river. Their length is 891 km and 121 km respectively.
NW4 is spanned across three states of Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. The length is 1,095 km.Work across all three waterways in underway. While certain sections are operational, complete stretches could be operational in a year or so, officials believe.