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Kolkata Port Trust moots tunnel under Hooghly river for truck movement

Debanjana Dutta

The first tunnel has been dug under the Ganges for the metro project. This time the Kolkata Port Authority is preparing to dig a second tunnel. The idea is to reach trailer-tanker, truck-container from Kolkata to national highways outside the city from the port avoiding the crowds of the city. In that case, just as the traffic congestion in the city of Kolkata can be reduced, the goods can reach the national highway outside the city directly from the port of Calcutta through the bottom of the Ganges. Port Chairman Binit Kumar made the announcement at a webinar organized by CII-Kolkata .

He said  ‘’ Kolkata port is in the middle of city, As a result, there are many problems in transporting goods day and night. As an alternative, a flyover from the port to the second Vidyasagar bridge was being considered. But as the tunnel has been dug successfully for the Metro Rail project. We are also consulting experts to dig another tunnel. Tunnels are used in the world’s river ports to carry goods from one side to the other. That is also being considered in the case of Kolkata. A report from the consulting firm will provide an idea of ​​the cost. ”

Port users present at the meeting are happy with the decision. Most of them are with the opinion that if the port’s own tunnel is dug, the unloading of goods at Calcutta port will be completed faster. Now various companies have to suffer a lot to remove the containers from the port area. So there can be no better alternative than tunnels to avoid the hustle and bustle of the city.

Union Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandavya was present at the meeting. Last week, shipments to Tripura using the Chittagong port began. As a result, instead of the long road, the goods went to Chittagong by water from Haldia-Kolkata via the Sundarbans via the protocol route to Bangladesh. From there it reached Tripura after crossing only 200 km. This protocol is ahead of the members of the Merchant Council in terms of operating more ships along the route . He called to come. The Union government is also planning to build at least 2 meters of navigability and 16 jetties on the Varanasi-Haldia waterway to increase freight traffic, the minister said. “The government has completely waived the waterway tax to increase the flow of goods by water,” he said. The decision was made last week. As a result, it will be possible to transport goods through the Ganges cheaper than before. On the other hand, plans are being made to transport goods from Kolkata-Haldia to Dibrugarh via Chittagong-Mangla port in Bangladesh, the minister said.

Amita Prasad, head of the Inland Water Transport Corporation, said night navigation was being arranged in the Sundarbans to facilitate the transportation of goods in Bangladesh. The central government has allocated Rs 60 crore for the development of this waterway. The cost of building the infrastructure of the number one national waterway (Varanasi-Haldia) will be Rs 4,000 crore.

Kolkata Port Trust has introduced this plan which, when implemented, can accommodate almost 700-800 trucks through the underwater tunnel. This will significantly reduce the traffic on Garden Reach Circular Road, Khiddirpore Road, Hastings and Vidyasagar Setu. To further make things better, they are planning to soon launch  ferry service on Hooghly river to enable heavy vehicle movement away from the city traffic.

Also Read |Kolkata All Set To Be Home To India’s First Underwater Metro.

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