The central government, Assam government and the World Bank signed a loan agreement of USD 88 million here on Thursday to help modernise Assam’s passenger ferry sector that runs on its rivers including Brahmaputra.
A Finance Ministry release said a majority of Assam’s more than 361 ferry routes cross the Brahmaputra or serve its islands, providing a crucial means of transport to thousands of commuters in both the urban and rural areas of the Brahmaputra Valley.
The Assam Inland Water Transport Project (AIWTP) will help Assam improve the passenger ferry infrastructure and its services and strengthen the capacity of institutions running the inland water transport, the release said.
“Technically better-designed terminals and energy-efficient vessels (both new and retrofitted) will make the ferry services more sustainable with least disruption to nature,” the release said.
The release said Assam government has taken the challenge of modernising ferries sector which, though vital to the state, remains largely informal.
The project will support the Assam government’s efforts to corporatise its own ferry activities.
The Assam Shipping Company (ASC) will operate the government ferries and the Assam Ports Company (APC) will provide terminals and terminal services on a common-user basis to both public and private ferry operators.