The poll-bound state of Jharkhand is all set for a major infrastructure boost with the commissioning of the multi-modal terminal at river Ganga in Sahibganj. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to inaugurate the multi-modal terminal, the second in the country after Varanasi, in August. Well-placed sources in the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) said that the project is complete and ready for inauguration.

Waterway development, an integral part of the Centre’s plan to upgrade transport infrastructure in the country, has been touted as one of the most ambitious projects of the Modi government. The projects on the river Ganga will boost the economies of states like Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Uttar Pradesh, besides creating jobs to thousands of local people. The national waterways would not only reduce logistics costs, but also lessen congestion on the road and rail networks, having a multiplier effect on the Indian economy.

Under National Waterway-1, the government is developing the Haldia-Varanasi stretch (1,620 km) with projects for construction of multi-modal terminals at Varanasi, Haldia and Sahibganj, strengthening of the river navigation system, river conservation works, and development of information systems and night navigation facilities, besides construction of a navigation lock at Farakka. In November last year, Prime Minister Modi had inaugurated the first terminal at Varanasi. The third multi-modal terminal will be constructed at Haldia in West Bengal.

Officials said the Sahibganj MMT will be a big development in the logistic chain of the eastern transport corridor of India. With its connectivity to NH-80 and rail network, the MMT is expected to advance cargo movement in the area, providing extensive socio-economic and industrial development in the area. It will also provide another route for Nepal-bound cargo and open up international markets for sea trade for land locked states of Jharkhand and Bihar.

Officials said that the projected traffic volume of Sahibganj MMT is 2.24 Million Tonne Per Annum (MTPA) by 2020-21 and the major cargo expected to be handled are stone chips, coal, cement, food grains, fertilizer and sugar. The Modi government has been focusing on Jharkhand keeping in view the ensuing elections. In September last year, PM Modi had launched the flagship Ayushman Bharat Yojana from Ranchi, a move aimed at reaping political gains. Jharkahnd is going to polls in October-November this year.