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Waterway UPSC| Transport, Communication, and Trade | Geography of India

Table of contents:

  • Features
  • Types
    • Inland
      • National Waterway
    • Ocean or overseas waterways

The following are features of the waterway;

  • It is the cheapest means of transport
  • Most suitable for carrying heavy and bulky goods
  • Fuel efficiency and environmentally friendly

There are two types of waterways:

  • Inland waterway
  • Ocean waterway or Oversea waterway

Inland Waterway:

  • It includes rivers, canals, backwater, and creeks.
  • Before the railways, it was cheap and the most widely used transport. Later, the inland waterway faced competition with road and railways and also diversion of river water for irrigation purposes made the river non-navigable.
  • The Inland navigable waterway is dependent on the width and depth of the channel, continuity of water flow, and technology usage.
  • At present, India has a 14500 km navigable inland waterway with 5,685 are navigable by mechanized flat bottom vessels.
  • The potential of Inland waterways is approx 1 % of the total transport network.

Inland waterway Authority was set up in 1986 for the development, maintenance, and regulation of national waterways.

The following waterway have been developed as national waterways by the government;

national waterways in india

National Waterways-1( NW-1); 

  • It is on the Ganga River; 
  • Connect from Allahabad to Haldiya;
  • Distance is 1620 km
  • Comprises three parts:
    • Haldia to Farakka; 560 km
    • Farakka to Patna; 460 km
    • Patna to Allahabad; 600 km

National Waterways-2( NW-2); 

  • It is on the Brahmaputra river; 
  • Connect from Sadia to Dhubri;
  • Distance is 891 km

National Waterways-3( NW-3); 

  • West coast canal in Kerala
  • Connect from Kottapurma to Kollam;
  • Distance is 205 km

National Waterways-4( NW-4); 

  • It is on the Godavari and Krishna rivers; 
  • Connect from Kakinada to Puducherry;
  • Distance is 1078 km

 National Waterways-5( NW-5); 

  • It is on the Brahmani and Matai rivers; 
  • East Coast Canal
  • Distance is 588 km

Ocean Waterways;

We have a long coastline with 13 major and more than 200 minor ports that provide huge potential for ocean waterways.

Foreign trade;

  • 95 % by volume through waterways
  • 68 % by value through ocean waterways.

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