Government announces new norms for infrastructure along waterways

Inspired by the waterdrome project on Sabarmati River at the Sardar Sarovar Dam and the floating passenger jetty in Goa, the Centre is keen to encourage development of similar infrastructure across India for various purposes, including tourism

Statue of Unity, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, Soho House, Time Magazine, The Federal, English news website
The Sardar Patel memorial and the area around it is being developed as a major tourist attraction. Photo: PTI File

The central government has announced a set of guidelines on construction and operation of infrastructure along the country’s waterways.

Inspired by the waterdrome project on Sabarmati River at the Sardar Sarovar Dam and the floating passenger jetty in Goa, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways is keen to encourage development of similar infrastructure across India for various purposes, including tourism. Till now the guidelines covering floating structures were focused on basic requirements such as safety. The new norms are an attempt to incorporate technical advancements that open up new avenues for enhanced standards.

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India’s first floating jetty is located on the banks of Mandovi River at the cruise terminal in Vasco, Goa, while a waterdrome project is under development for the seaplane project at Sardar Sarovar Dam.

Christened Statue of Unity and towering 182 metres as the tallest statue in the world, the Sardar Patel memorial and the area around it is being developed as a major tourist attraction. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the statue and his flight on a seaplane from this location was watched with interest and plans are afoot now to start regular services for tourists.

The guidelines cover various technical aspects for implementation of floating jetties, platforms for marinas, minor harbours, fishing harbours, fish landing centres, waterdromes and similar facilities, the ministry said on Friday.

The new norms will apply for development of these facilities in coastal areas, estuaries, waterways, rivers and reservoirs, the statement said. These guidelines may also be suitably utilised for floating pontoons or platforms in various waterborne systems and floating wave attenuators (or breakwaters) for minor harbours and fish landing facilities, the ministry said.

Because of a number of inherent advantages, floating structures are an attractive solution for several types of projects and this has been cited as the reason for the ministry promoting their usage. The benefits of floating jetties, structures over conventional concrete structures include cost-effectiveness, quicker implementation, easily expansion and re-location with minimal environmental impact.

The ministry claimed that projects such as the passenger floating jetty in Goa have been implemented successfully. Water-aerodromes at Sabarmati River and at Sardar Sarovar Dam (for the seaplane services) are working satisfactorily, the statement emphasised.

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Several projects are under the planning stage for overall development and upliftment of the coastal community, the ministry said.

Mansukh Mandaviya,  Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, was quoted in the statement as saying that the ministry has set a benchmark and evolved standard specifications in these guidelines at par a with international norms. “These platforms have several advantages over the conventional, fixed-concrete structures. It is the endeavour of our ministry to promote laying of such world-class infrastructure across the country in the upcoming projects to achieve the best results in utilisation, durability, safety, low maintenance, cost-effectiveness and above all with minimal ecological impacts,” the statement said

It is understood that the new guidelines will be helpful for state maritime boards, ports, and fisheries departments of state governments.

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