The National Waterway (Talcher-Dhamra Stretch of Rivers, Geonkhali-Charbatia Stretch of East Coast Canal, Charbatia-Dhamra Stretch of Matai River and Mahanadi Delta Rivers) Act, 2008

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The National Waterway (Talcher-Dhamra Stretch of Rivers, Geonkhali-Charbatia Stretch of East Coast Canal, Charbatia-Dhamra Stretch of Matai River and Mahanadi Delta Rivers) Act, 2008 (Act No. 23 OF 2008) dated 17th November, 2008, being the Act of Parliament was assented by President of India on 18th November, 2008. The Act was enacted with the object and motive that the Talcher-Dhamra stretch of Brahmani-Kharsua-Dhamra rivers, Geonkhali-Charbatia stretch of East Coast Canal, Charbatia-Dhamra stretch of Matai river and Mahanadi delta rivers between Mangalgadi and Paradip in the States of West Bengal and Orissa, to be declare as national waterway. Moreover, the Act is to provide that the aforesaid stretch of the rivers and the canals’ regulation and development, for shipping and navigation. This Act was to enact on 59th year of Republic of India.

The development of concept of National Waterways in India for the waterway transportation inside the Country was considered essential in the year 1982. For the effective maintenance of financial structure of the Country the transportation also plays important role. In the country like India where huge population resides resulting in heavy crowdy roads, railways and even sometimes airways also. However, the only option for transportation remains, i.e. of Waterways. Building up the waterways of the Country was of great essence and was effectively considered by enacting Inland Waterways Authority of India Act, 1985 which was to set up ‘Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) being the regulatory body for the Inland Waterways Transport sector. The Act of 1985 also make the IWAI responsible as to development and regulation of National Waterways in the India. The Government of India has declared several National waterways till present, including this one, by enacting legislation over there. As such this Act is of great importance.

The Section 1 of the Act deals with short title and commencement of it, wherein the was short titled as ‘The National Waterway (Talcher-Dhamra Stretch of Rivers, Geonkhali-Charbatia Stretch of East Coast Canal, Charbatia-Dhamra Stretch of Matai River and Mahanadi Delta Rivers) Act, 2008’ and its date of commencement was to be decided by Central Government.

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The next Section i.e. Section 2 of the Act makes provisions partly similar to the purpose of this Act, where it provides that the Talcher-Dhamra stretch of Brahmani-Kharsua-Dhamra rivers, Geonkhali-Charbatia stretch of East Coast Canal, Charbatia-Dhamra stretch of Matai river and Mahanadi delta rivers between Mangalgadi and Paradip, to the limits as specified in the Schedule annexed with the Act to be declare as of National waterway. The Schedule annexed to the Act specifies with the name of river, its extent and limits to which the this provision of the Act should be made applicable.

Similarly, Section 3 of the Act deals with remaining purpose of the Act by making provisions as to declaration to the effect that the regulation and development of Talcher-Dhamra stretch of Brahmani-Kharsua-Dhamra rivers, Geonkhali-Charbatia stretch of East Coast Canal, Charbatia-Dhamra stretch of Matai river and Mahanadi delta rivers between Mangalgadi and Paradip, to be taken under the control of Union as it is expedient in the public interest so far as it relates to shipping and navigation purposes on the National Waterway to an extent given under Inland Waterways Authority of India Act, 1985.

This national waterway as declared under this Act is denoted as ‘National Waterway – 5’ and as it being new one the development proposal of this Waterway along with another one i.e. ‘National Waterway – 4’ is initiated soon after their declaration as national waterways by Government of India on 25th November, 2008. Besides this, there are three other national waterways, wherein the National Waterways Authority has carried out development as on 2010 as per information given by Minister of Shipping. The recent news about development of National Waterway – 5 is that, the Government of State of Orissa singed Memorandum of Understanding with Inland Waterways Authority of India where, the existing Chief Minister of the State ensured on the occasion that, the State Government will provide free of cost land and also provide all possible assistance as to fast track this project of development and also ensured that, the project expected to be completed by 2017.

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by Faim Khalilkhan Pathan