Friday, September 19, 2014

Buckingham canal survey ordered

In the backdrop of state and central governments’ decision to revive the Buckingham Canal, district administration formed teams to survey the canal passing through the district from Friday. The 421.55 km long canal was a long fresh water navigation canal from Kakinada in East Godavari district to Villipuram district in Tamil Nadu parallel to the Coromandel coast of South India. The canal connects most of the natural backwaters along the coast to the port of Chennai (Madras). Constructed during the British rule, the canal was an important waterway during the late 19th and the 20th century. The Congress government in the Centre had planned to make the canal navigable at an estimated cost of Rs 651 crore in 2004. Then union minister for shipping T.R. Balu even made an announcement while referring to a study conducted by the Rail India Technical and Economic Services (RITES). As per the study the canal can carry 6.42 million tonnes of cargo per annum and recommended to setup terminals and barges so that private companies could hire or buy them to transport goods. After RITES submitted its study report the Inland Waterways Authority of India chairman S.B. Mathur and vice-chairman Suseelkumar have inspected the Buckingham Canal in March 2007. They submitted a report to the government and indicated the need for Rs 1,400 crore to revive the transportation in the canal. However, the proposals remained as non-starter since then. The subject came to fore once again after the TD government and the BJP government in the Centre expressed interest in developing the water ways. Joint Collector G. Rekha Rani formed survey teams and gave them the direction to carry out the survey all along the 178 km length in Nellore. The canal stretch between Vakadu and Chennai was used for transporting goods till 1993.

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