Shri Sarbananda Sonowal reviews developmental works on Barak River (NW16) asks experts to ensure seamless movement of cargo on NW 16; all measures to be taken in this regard including dredging of river


Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal reviewed various projects under implementation around North-east region by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) at a review meeting held in Silchar,Assm today. The Union Minister reviewed the progress made on the renovation of existing shore facilities at Badarpur Terminal and renovation of existing shore facilities at Karimganj Terminal during his visit . Shri Sonowal  directed the officials to take all necessary measures including dredging, in order to ensure smooth passage of cargo vessels on NW 2 (Brahmaputra) and NW 16 (Barak). The Minister was accompanied by the Minister of Transport, Fisheries and Excise, Parimal Shuklabaidya; Dr Rajdeep Roy, MP, Silchar; Kripanath Mallah, MP, Karimganj; MLA of Udharbond, Mihir Kanti Shome among other senior officials of IWAI, MoPSW and Government of Assam.





Speaking on the occasion, the Shri Sonowal said, “The Northeast India is rich and its richness must reach the world in order to make people aware about our rich heritage & resources. Inland Waterways comes as a wonderful avenue for us – the people of Northeast – to take our produce out into the global trade map in an efficient and economic way. Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, we are working towards unlocking this huge potential of the Northeast through enabling our river systems to act as a conduit of growth and development. As the engine of New India’s growth story, the Northeast has a huge role to play in enabling this vision. Waterways plays a crucial role to reach out the interiors of our region and open the doors of opportunity in trade, service in the global market. We are working steadfastly towards this.”





IWAI is carrying out the work for Renovation of IWAI terminals at Badarpur along NW- 16 (river Barak) and Karimganj along IBP route (river Kushiyara) in Karimganj District of Assam through CPWD on deposit work basis. To maintain the Fairway on river Barak, dredging  work to be undertaken by Dredging Corporation of India (DCI) between Bhanga to Badarpur (10.50 kms) of NW16 for an estimated cost of ₹45 crores for a 3 year period. The hydrographic survey in No man’s land of river Kushiyara between India and Bangladesh has been conducted by joint team of IWAI and BIWTA, Govt. of Bangladesh in the last week of October 2022.





The Barak River is the lifeline of this region. Keeping in mind the huge potential of economic growth in this region, Shri Sonowal took stock of the progress of various developmental projects going on this region, especially in the Barak valley. This is in line with the ‘Act East’ Policy. The river from Bhanga to Lakhipur (121 km) has been declared as National Waterway16 (NW16). It connects Barak Valley with NW1 and rest of India through IBP route 3 & 4 and with NW2 (river Brahmaputra) through IBP route 7 & 8. IWAI terminals play a major role for trade in the Barak Valley and adjoining areas. Karimganj terminal is a notified Port of Call and Badarpur is an Extended Port of Call in NW16. The export through IWT has grown manifolds in the recent years and export in FY 2022-23 is already more than 3 times (total 53 vessels carrying 9987 MT) of that in FY 2021-22 (total 18 vessels carrying 2490 MT). With the renovation of the terminals will further easy and increase the export activities & commodities. The projects have major influence in districts of Cachar, Karimganj & Hailakandi in Assam and adjoining states of Mizoram, Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya, given the presence of cement industry, stone crushers, coal deposits, food processing units, tea estates, etc.




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Shri Sarbananda Sonowal announces Multiple Initiatives to unlock potential of Blue Economy of Indian Ocean at IMU Convocation


Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal announced multiple initiatives at the Indian Maritime University’s (IMU) 7th convocation in Chennai,Tamil Nadu today. A Centre for Policy Research in Maritime Studies (C-PRiMeS) of IMU was also inaugurated by the Union Minister.



The C-PRiMeS centre will undertake maritime studies and act as a think tank for the development of the marine economy. To supplement the vision of Sagarmala programme of the Government, multiple initiatives were announced open by Shri Sonowal to unlock the huge potential of Blue Economy of Indian Ocean at the IMU convocation here today.



Speaking on the occasion, Shri Sonowal, said, “It gives me immense pleasure to attend this important event here today. As India works through the Amrit Kaal to become an Atmanirbhar Bharat, the role of Blue Economy in propelling the growth story of India is immense. Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji, the Ministry is working to strengthen the coastal economy of the country through its Sagarmala programme. While improve our infrastructure, we must equip ourselves to secure optimum utilisation of the opportunity at hand as Ocean based Blue Economy is the next sunrise sector for development.”


Adding on the new opportunities from marine sectors, the Union Minister said, Apart from traditional sectors like shipping, offshore mineral exploration, fishing, undersea cable and tourism, we must equip our economy to take the best advantage from the upcoming sectors like Aqua culture, marine biotechnology, ocean energy and sea bed mining etc. This can be done only through training our talent pool with the best possible knowledge and training on modern marine technologies which is being made possible here at IMU. I am confident that we will continue to work towards enabling our students and cadets with the best possible training so that the ultimate objective of marine economy led growth can be unlocked for the growth of the Indian economy.”



In order to improve the training module with an aim to expose the students to the best minds of the sector, the students are being imparted training under the Global Initiative of Academic Networks (GIAN) scheme. In order to strengthen the capacity of IMU in industrial research, consultancy and policy studies, the IMU with the support of the Institute of Marine Engineers India (IME-I) has established a Chair position, and with the Company of Master Mariners of India (CMMI), the professional exposure for cadets and students are being done. A Cumulative Professional Development Allowance (CPDA) of ₹3 lakhs for three years for the training of faculty has also been introduced. The IMU also has a tie up with the National Institute of Advanced Study (NIAS), Bengaluru and Research & Information System (RIS), New Delhi to work on the policy research of  the maritime economy. A Career Advancement Scheme at IMU for fast track career growth of faculty, nomination of students for various training programmes has been going on at Antwerp Port Training Centre in Belgium. 


A project worth ₹ 21.94 lakhs awarded to IMU by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) for ‘Development of Energy Efficient River survey drifter drone (Autonomous survey craft)’ on Self-Propulsion Model (SPM) are a few among the overall achievements of IMU in the recent years.


In addition, a project worth ₹57.50 Lakh was sanctioned by Tamil Nadu Government in respect of offshore Reconnaissance Survey of a Sangam Age Korkai Port, Tamil Nadu is one of the recent Research project undertaken by IMU in association with NIOT, Chennai.


Earlier at the IMU Convocation, the Shri Sarbananda Sonowal awarded Gold and Silver medals to the top students from various disciplines.


The programme was also attended by the Union Minister of State for Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Tourism, Shripad Naik along with the Union Minister of State for Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Tourism. The convocation was declared open by Dr Malini V Shankar, Vice Chancellor of IMU earlier. As many as 401 students were awarded in person their respective Doctoral degrees, Post Graduate degrees & diplomas as well as the under graduate degrees of all schools. As many as 3179 students received their degrees virtually. The ceremony captured and gathered beautiful memories. The grand ceremony was attended by Shri K. Saravanan, Registrar; Commodore Kishore Dattatraya Joshi (Retd.), Controller of Examinations and other senior IMU officials  & authorities.


IMU – headquartered in Chennai – was established on 14th November, 2008 as a Central University by merging seven legacy institutes to provide quality maritime education, training, and research. IMU offers undergraduate (UG), postgraduate (PG), and Ph. D programmes in its 6 Campuses located at Chennai, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Navi Mumbai, and Visakhapatnam. There are 17 Maritime Training Institutes affiliated with IMU. The University continues to build on the strength of its legacy institutes (TS Chanakya, MERI Mumbai, LBS CAMSAR, MERI Kolkata, IIPM Kolkata, NSDRC Vizag, and NMA Chennai) as it embarks on a journey to become a global research oriented maritime University.


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Shri Sarbananda Sonowal inaugurates ‘Ayush Utsav’ in Kashmir


The Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal inaugurated the Ayush Utsav at the Government Unani Medical College & Hospital (GUMC) in Ganderbal,Kashmir today. With the focus of the government to enable traditional medicinal practices to supplement modern patient care, the Ayush Utsav was launched with the inauguration of a seminar titled ‘Bridging the Gaps in Healthcare: Ayush, a Promising Recourse’ was inaugurated by the Union Ayush Minister.





The discussion also witnessed display of medicinal herbs, posters by the students as well as a video documentary by the Directorate of Ayush at the premises. A video documentary was also displayed to showcase the strengths & progress Ayush system of medicine has achieved in Jammu & Kashmir. 


Speaking on the occasion, the Shri Sonowal said, “The importance of our rich traditional medicinal practices must be optimally used for the benefit & enrichment of human lives. Under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji, there has been a concerted effort to promote the Ayush medicinal practices and supplement it with the modern medicinal treatments for a holistic recovery and wellness of the people. Taking the vision of Modi ji forward, it is a matter of great pride that the Global Centre of Traditional Medicine is coming up in Jamnagar, Gujarat. This is a brilliant news for further bolstering of the traditional medicinal practices in India as well as globally.” 


In order to enable emergency medical services, the Union Minister earlier inaugurated a three-day First Aid/BLS training workshop at Sonmarg keeping the tourist destination for the benefit of the needy at the busy tourist destination of the region. The Minister was apprised by CMO Ganderbal about the significance of First Aid/BLS Training and the keen focus of Director Health Services,Kashmir in outreach skills based training programmes for the interest of general public at large. Later the minister was briefed by the Master Trainer BLS of DHSK about the BLS modules that are being deliberated to the stakeholders on simulation based methodology. The training is first of its kind and is being conducted for the first time in Sonmarg as it is thrown open as all weather tourist destination.


Union Minister also visited Trout Fish farm – hammer – and inspected the facilities available at the farm like race ways, circular pond, stocking pond, ova house, indoor rearing hatchery, trout feed mill, recreational fish pond etc. The Minister keenly observed the briefing on activities of rainbow trout fishing including the training, research, supply chain management & how support from the government has been helping the young entrepreneurs in the business. The minister was informed that rearing capacity of the farm is 0.25 lakh and hatching capacity is 4 lakh.





Shri Sonowal visited National Fish Seed Farm Manasbal where Chief Project Officer briefed the Minister about the importance of the National Fish Seed Farm Manasbal and the various activities taken for propagation of fish culture both in culture and capture sectors. Highlighting the achievements of fish seed production, the Minister was informed that about 40.00 Lacs of Carp Fish Fry production was achieved during the year 2022-23, out of which a considerable number of fish seed has been stocked in natural water bodies under aqua-ranching programme and also supplied to various private and Government Carp Fish Farms.





The Minister was briefed about the fish seed production, rearing and subsequent sale of the fish and the fish seed besides the progress of Centrally Sponsored Schemes likewise, Low cost house, Auto Rikshaw, Fishing crafts and gears and other welfare schemes being operated for upliftment of Fishermen community. In addition the Minister was briefed about the state of art Trout Feed Mill, Manasbal which is catering the demand of Trout Feed in private sector as well as Government throughout UT Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.


The minister visited Manasbal park where he a started plantation drive within the park under ‘Green Kashmir’ initiative. The Minster also visited the P-4, Basic Seed Farm, Central Silk Board, Ministry of Textiles, Govt. of India, Manasbal, Safapora. Dr. Rajesh Kumar, Senior Scientist / Head explained about the Bioboltine Silk of Kashmir and the importance of this Stations in India. It is the only Station to maintain the temperate basic silkworm seed as well as mulberry temperate mulberry national and international germplasm bank in India. On the occasion minister also interacted with the sericulture farmers of this district.


Earlier, Dr Mohan Singh, Director, Ayush, J&K also elaborated the achievements of the department to make Ayush practices a house hold name across the union territory. AYUSH Health & Wellness Centers have been established and Yoga instructors have been engaged in all AYUSH Health & Wellness Centers for promotion of health and Prevention of Diseases through YOGA Asans, Dr Singh added.


It is to be noted that the GUMC, Ganderbal has been constructed at a cost of 32.50 crores by J&K Housing Board. Pertinently, the Government Unani Medical College (GUMC) and Hospital Ganderbal Kashmir was granted permission by Central Government to start the First Batch of Bachelors in Unani Medicine and Surgery (BUMS) course from the academic session of 2020-21 with an intake capacity of 60 seats.


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Shri Sarbananda Sonowal visits Chabahar Port in Iran to Review work progress


The Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal paid a visit to the Shahid Behestti port at Chabahar in Iran to review the progress in the development of the port today. In an effort to invigorate the potential of Chabahar port, the Union Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal also handed over Six mobile harbour cranes to Indian Ports Global Chabahar Free Trade Zone (IPGCFTZ) at the port today. The Union Minister was accompanied by the India’s Ambassador to Iran, Gaddam Dharmendra. Dr Ali Akbar Safaee, Deputy Minister and Managing Director of Ports and Maritime Organisation, Iran, led the Iranian delegation at the launch today. 







Shri Sarbananda Sonowal and Dr Ali Akbar Safaee had a fruitful meeting on development of maritime and port cooperation between Iran and India. Both the delegation discussed the possibilities of trade & unlock trade potential between Central Asian countries with South Asian, ASEAN and even from Far East countries like Japan and Korea. The Union Minister, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal reiterated the role Chabahar port can play in reducing distance, time and cost. It was decided to form a joint technical committee for smooth functioning of the port. The meeting also addressed the future course of action towards development of the port.







Speaking on the occasion, the Union Minister, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal, said, “Our shared historical relationship has been the seedbed of Indo Iranian bilateral relationship. The sustained engagement and all round efforts in the preceeding years provide an ideal platform for further expansion and deepening of the bilateral relation. India remains fully committed to develop the Chabahar port to realise the vision set during Indian PM Shri Narendra Modi ji’s visit to Iran in 2016.  The inauguration of the SIX mobile harbour cranes would act as a force multiplier for the operation of the Shahid Behesti Port and further fuel impetus  to the development of the Chabahar port. The strategic role of Chabahar port to unlock trade potential in the regional trade between Central Asia, South Asia & South East Asia is huge. We are continuously working towards making the International North South Transport Corridor as the preferred route of trade between the two regions.”







Since India Ports Global Private Limited (IPGPL) assumed operations of Shahid Beheshti Port, it has handled over 4.8 million tons of bulk cargo. The trans-shipment of goods were from varied countries including Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Germany, Oman, Romania, Russia, Thailand, UAE, Ukraine and Uzbekistan. With close cooperation between India’s IGPL and Iranian stakeholders including Iran’s Port and Maritime Organisation, Iranian Customs Administration and the Chabahar Free Zone Authority, Shahid Behesti Port Authority & other stakeholders, the Port is likely to act as a catalyst to unlock the huge trade potential in the region. The meeting was also attended by Mr Sepahi, Provincial Deputy Governor and the Governor of Chabahar City, Mr Ebrahimi, Interim CEO of Chabahar Free Trade Zone Organisation among other senior officials from Ministry of Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Government of India, the Indian Embassy and the officials from Islamic Republic of Iran.







The Union Minister, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal is on a three days official tour to Iran and UAE where he is slated to visit Chabahar Port in Iran and Jebel Ali Port in UAE. The visit is aimed at strengthening the ties and maritime relationship between the two nations. The visit also intends to highlight the importance of Chabahar port as a gateway for Indian trade with Europe, Russia and CIS countries.


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