New Delhi: People will soon be able to go to Agra sailing on the Yamuna as the Centre has sought help from the Netherlands government for the ambitious project that includes building barrages and water-terminals on both sides of the river.
"Soon people can go to Agra via Delhi through Yamuna...We will float a Cabinet note within 10 days to specify works for the project by our Ministry and the Delhi Government," Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said.
"We will request Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Finance Minister Arun Jaitley to ensure special funds for the project," he said.
After chairing a high-level meet to discuss the project, Gadkari said the Netherlands government has agreed to come out with a technical report for the project which includes specifications regarding construction of barrages and two water-terminals at both ends of Yamuna.
"Netherlands has expertise in this in the world. I had a talk with the Netherlands Ambassador. We have asked a Netherlands government agency to prepare the project management report including technical consultancy, for which they have agreed," he said.
Gadkari said barrages would be constructed to ensure at least five metres water in Yamuna round-the-year to ensure passengers and goods transportation through the waterways.
He added that more barrages would be constructed ahead of Wazirabad so that Delhi does not face water-crisis and if need be talks will be held with the Haryana government.
"We have already given nod to seaplanes. We are allowing hovercrafts. We are constructing water-terminals at both the ends of Yamuna on the pattern of airports," he said.
Unveiling the plans, Gadkari said Delhi Development Authority will beautify the riverbanks while the Delhi Jal Board will prevent effluents from being released in Yamuna.
Officials of the Ministry of Shipping in consultation with Delhi Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung will integrate the scheme, he said.
Gadkari said his ministry has accorded highest priority to development of waterways in the country which has been "sadly" ignored so far with the country's goods and passenger transport through the mode barely at 0.5 percent of the total transport in comparison to China where the percentage was 20 percent.
The stress is being given on waterways from Varanasi to Kolkata and from Delhi to Agra now in addition to the existing five waterways in the country, he said.