Revive river transport
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Revive river transport

Post by RK News on Thursday, September 29, 2022

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Inland water transport is among cheapest and reliable water transport modes in the world. It is cheap because there is no capital spending on construction and maintenance of roads and tracks as happens to be the case in road and rail transport. For centuries now Kashmir valley as a landlocked region has been dependent on waterways. As an alternate to roadways, several water bodies of the valley were amply used for transportation in the past. A network of watercourses was even used to travel in Srinagar city, which has been either blocked or turned defunct. Not only this, the main river that passes through the valley, Jhelum, is also known to have been used for transportation of goods and people in the past. Today, Jhelum is only seen as source to floods, fish and the sand mined regularly all along it. So when the idea of river transportation cropped up the official response was taken up pronto. In the past many high level meetings were held regarding the revival of river transportation and it was seen as plausible. Last year, in July, the J&K government imported three bus boats from New Zealand to ply on river Jhelum and river transportation in Jhelum seemed in the offing. The real thrust behind the river transport idea came from the over congested city roads and too many traffic jams on official watch. It was a good idea, would have been a great initiative, but unfortunately it couldn’t get out of limbo so far. In three major water bodies – Jhelum, Dal lake and Wullar lake, it is only the river which is least used for transportation and despite having running water. Even if motorable ferries and vessels carrying passengers is not feasible at present for reasons better known to administration, there apparently is no reason why it cannot be used to transport goods. In 1947 when this landlocked valley had three roads – Jhelum Valley Road, Banihal Road and Abbotabad Road – even then Jhelum was used to transport goods, like timber. Many experts are of the opinion that developing inland water transport has become inevitable now keeping in view the alarming increase of vehicular traffic on roads. River transportation can certainly be a respite to the growing road congestion and traffic snarls. At least goods can be ferried, which are blocked entry as trucks and goods vehicles are not permitted to travel in city in day time. The administration should explore ideas and must take initiatives to revive the centuries old water transport facility in the city, and the sooner the better.



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