Namely, the MMTs are being built as part of the Government’s Jal Marg Vikas project that aims to develop the stretch of River Ganga between Varanasi to Haldi for navigation of large vessels up to 1500-2000 tonnes weight, by maintaining a drought of 2-3 metres in this stretch of the river and setting up other systems required for safe navigation.

The objective is to promote inland waterways as a cheaper and more environmentally friendly means of transport, especially for cargo movement. Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the project Implementing Agency. Container movement on an inland waterway in India is happening for the first time post-independence.

As far as the project is concerned, it combines the construction of:

  • 3 multimodal terminals, Varanasi, Sahibganj and Haldia;
  • 2 intermodal terminals;
  • 5 Ro-Ro terminal pairs;
  • New navigation lock at Farakka;
  • Assured depth dredging;
  • Integrated vessel repair & maintenance facility;
  • Differential Global Positioning System;
  • River Information System;
  • River training and river conservancy works.

Moreover, the MMT project and proposed Freight Village at Varanasi are expected to create 500 direct employment and more than 2000 indirect employment opportunities.

The start date of the Jal Marg Vikas Project project was on June 2016 and completion is expected in November 2018. The most important parts of the project ready for operation are firstly a berthing and mooring facility, secondly mobile harbour cranes, an approach road, internal road, stone pitching works and bank protection and, last but not least, shell structure of ancillary buildings, worker amenity building ready.

The project is being established with the technical assistance and investment support of the World Bank on a 50/50 sharing basis between Government of India and the World Bank.