Kolkata: The government will increase its focus on development of waterways for passenger traffic and goods movement, Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari said here.
"We should give more stress on development of waterways as it is a cheap mode of transportation," Gadkari said at an Indian Chamber of Commerce event here last night.
He said compared to China where 44 per cent passenger and goods traffic were transported through inland waterways, it was only three per cent in India.
Gadkari said the government would notify more national waterways for which a bill would be tabled in Parliament.
Chairman of Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) Amitabh Verma said there was five notified national waterways in the country at present.
On the national waterway from Haldia to Varanasi, he said the World Bank had provided funds for maintaining a year-round draft of three metres along the entire stretch.
Verma said states should also make efforts to develop state waterways which would feed the national waterways to form an integrated grid.