The Central Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) proposal declaring Goa’s inland waterways as national waterways has not gone well with the State Government and has been pending since 2007. Inspite of circulars sent to the Goa Government on optimizing the usage of its waterways, the Goa Government delayed to respond due to some issues of conflict.
In the first week of January 2010, Inland waterways Authority of India Chairman S.P. Gaur explained in detail to the Goa Government that Nationalization would boost the economy through enhanced cargo.
The previous Congress led Digambar Kamat Government without studying the matter and not taking in account the fact that nationalization of the waterways would have seen the Centre i8nvesting on enhancing our natural resources.
But the Congress Government blindly shelved the nationalization project following apprehensions that nationalization would curtail state government rights and wealth of its waterways. It is wrong. The Central Government proposal stipulated the infrastructural development expenditure was likely to be around Rs 450 to Rs 500 crores and the same was to be borne by them and that they would only be looking after the navigational channels, and the rest of the rights and control would be with the Goa Government .The proposal was welcomed by the mining industry and by the Goa Barge Owners Association.
But the Kamat Government failed to honour the infrastructural opportunity that were given by the Central Government. Now the BJP led Government should realize the previous Congress Government’s folly and should precisely introspect the pros and con and declare Mandovi and Zuari rivers and the Cumbarjua Canal as a national waterways which serve as a life line to the 518 ore laden barges that traverse the route from hinterland mines.