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World Bank team on Dhubri ghats recce

The team in Dhubri on Friday. Picture by Bijoy Kr Sharma

Dhubri, June 20: A five-member World Bank team today inspected the infrastructure at the different ghats in Dhubri district.

The bank is likely to provide assistance in modernising them for smooth functioning of river transport on the Brahmaputra.

The state director of inland water transport (IWT), Victor Carpenter, accompanied the team on the visit.

Two World Bank consultants — Peter McEwen, a port engineer and Anthony Hughes, a marine surveyor — went in an Inland Waterways Authority of India launch and inspected five ghats along the Brahmaputra in and around Dhubri.

IWT officials, workers and junior engineers briefed the consultants about the available infrastructure at Newghat, Panchughat (Free India Ghat), Jogomaya Ghat, Silghat and Mela Maidan Ghat.

Hughes said the purpose of the visit was to survey the ghats and find out what infrastructure was lacking and what steps could be taken to improve river transportation. “We will submit our report to the Assam government with proper suggestions,” said McEwen.

Carpenter said he was keen to streamline river transportation.

“Before improving the infrastructure at the ghats and introduction of modern boats, anomalies in the river transportation system have to be corrected,” he said.

“The Brahmaputra is National Waterway 2 and any boat can sail on it provided they are registered with the IWT. We are working towards completing the registration of all boats plying in the river within two weeks,” Carpenter said.

Dhubri additional deputy commissioner Bhogeswar Shyam, who is heading a sub-committee formed by Dhubri deputy commissioner Kumud Chandra Kalita, to streamline river transportation in Dhubri, said the Centre is planning to tap the huge potential in international river transportation.

“The World Bank team visit was part of the process and slowly things will take shape after improvement of basic infrastructure, amenities and introduction of modern boats with financial assistance from the bank,” Shyam said.

Other officials who accompanied the team are Guwahati IWT divisional executive engineer, Pankaj Kumar Gogoi, IWT river and ship surveyor, R.H. Khan, Goalpara IWT sub-divisional officer, Dhiren Hazarika, and junior engineers.