You might get to see “water taxis” soon in the National Capital of India. If this happens than Delhi will join a handful of cities in the world where waterways will be present as a means to travel.
This will be one of its kind project and learning experience for the government along with concerned agencies. In April 2016 IWAI (Inland Waterways Authority of India) invited bids for the project. A 16km stretch from Delhi’s Wazirabad barrage to Palla (Delhi – Haryana border) & to Fatehpur Jat in Uttar Pradesh.
As per the latest update from India’s leading newspaper Hindustan Times the project is moving as per schedule. Once the route opens it is expected to shorten the travel time significantly between two places from 3.5 hours to just 45 minutes! Delhi is struggling with long traffic jams and through this project the travel time is expected to be cut along with reduction of vehicles on road.
Procurement of vessels and implementation of this project will be done by IWAI which is currently being worked upon. Authority is also working on taking clearances from the concerned departments as rivers do not belong to a single state and the potential of harming & polluting the river remains. Government is optimistic as they have already reached consensus on release of more water in the river from adjoining state which should address the problem of insufficient water in the river.
Amitabh Verma, chairman of IWAI, said as no permanent structure will be constructed, the authority hopes it will get a nod from the environment watchdog. “Things are very much on the track. Tenders for dredging, three passenger vessels, and jetties have been floated. Hopefully, by the end of June, we will start the ferry service in the city,” he said.
However critiques have warned about the setbacks and major challenges about this day-dream project. Environmentalists expressed their concern over the lose of biodiversity on Yamuna others do not find it possible to start such a service because of shallow water in the river which is not sufficient to support such system. Additionally the news about rivers being dirty have floated from time to time with government taking steps to improve the condition. One such project is being worked upon aggressively for river Ganga. As per Prof. Vikram Soni of Jamia Millia Islamia the plan is not feasible due to lack of water in the river for about 3 quarters of a year and also that it will lead to destruction of flood plans.
If the plan gets the nod from all the concerned agencies and is implemented successfully than it will open the possibility of developing such system for a longer route and also introduction of similar service in other cities as well. Withing Delhi tourism is expected to increase with this project, also the scope of water activities will also be looked upon.
To read the entire article by Hindustan Times click here