New Delhi: Declaring 101 rivers into waterways through a single legislation is a welcome step but many rain-fed rivers do not have adequate water which should be taken care of at the time of feasibility report, said a parliamentary panel in its report tabled in Rajya Sabha Wednesday.
Also, it observed that attention should be given to develop existing waterways too as two of the stretches have been neglected.
Keen on promoting water transport, a bill that seeks to convert 101 rivers across the country into waterways is with the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture, chaired by Kanwar Deep Singh.
"The Committee is... Constrained to note that many of the proposed National Waterways, as contained in the Schedule of the Bill, do not have enough water level throughout the year as they are rain-fed rivers.
"The Committee, therefore, recommends that during the time of techno-economic feasibility study, this aspect should be taken care of," the report said.
Welcoming the initiative, the report said declaring 101 new National Waterways through a single legislation would enable the government to reduce the cumbersome and time taking procedure of declaring waterways through individual legislations and the follow up actions thereon which normally was said to take around 8-10 years.
It also said, "The developmental works are not satisfactory on the already declared NW-4 and NW-5 as pointed out by the Committee...The major impediment in this regard, the Committee understands, was lack of financial sanctions for the projects at the initial stage."
The government has so far declared only five river stretches as waterways.
Five National Waterways are Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly river system (Allahabad-Haldia-1620 kms); river Brahmaputra (Dhubri-Sadiya-891 kms); West Coast Canal (Kottapuram-Kollam) along with Udyogmandal and Champakara Canals-(205 kms); Kakinada-Puducherry canals along with Godavari and Krishna rivers (1,078 kms) and East Coast Canal integrated with Brahmani river and Mahanadi delta rivers (588 kms).
Inland waterways comprising rivers, lakes, canals, creeks, and backwaters extend to about 14,500 kms in the country.