New Delhi: The Government of India, the Government of West Bengal and the World Bank on Tuesday signed a $105 million project to improve the inland water transport infrastructure in Kolkata, West Bengal. The West Bengal Inland Water Transport, Logistics and Spatial Development Project will facilitate passenger and freight movement across the Hooghly river; undertake spatial planning to improve accessibility in the Kolkata Metropolitan Area; enhance the quality of life of its residents; and contribute to the growth of the state’s logistics sector.
Dr. C S Mohapatra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance stated that “the Inland waterways are now emerging as a cost effective and an environment friendly option for passenger and freight movement. This Project will help improve the river transport infrastructure in West Bengal and help in the economic development of the state by connecting the hinterland with markets and job centers in Kolkata’s Metropolitan Area”.
The agreement was signed by Dr. C S Mohapatra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance on behalf of the Government of India; Rajdeep Dutta, Deputy Resident Commissioner, on behalf of the Government of West Bengal; and Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, India on behalf of the World Bank.
The project will cover the five most populous districts of southern West Bengal, including its urban agglomeration — the Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA) where around 30 million people or one-third of West Bengal’s population live.
The $105 million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a maturity of 17 years, including a grace period of 7 years.