Very Soon You’ll Be Able To Travel From Delhi To Agra On A Seaplane

Agra, June 13: The central government plans to connect Agra and Delhi by seaplanes in the not too distant future, Union transport minister Nitin Gadkari said on Thursday, an ambitious plan that underlines New Delhi’s intention to augment transportation infrastructure in the country.

Speaking about the project that will “rewrite the country’s maritime history”, Gadkari said, “The ‘fly boat’ project will start in the next three months. We have also been in discussions with the Airport Authority of India (AAI) in order to frame rules and regulations needed to introduce seaplanes on this route.”

A seaplane is an aircraft that has skis instead of wheels, and can take off from and land on water.

The project announcement comes in the wake of the Parliament passing the Indian Waterways Bill on March 11. The bill intends to revolutionize transportation in the country, aiming to add 106 inland waterways to the existing five in the country.

In addition, the Centre also plans to operate hovercraft and seabuses in not just Yamuna but across all waterways in the country, the Union minister told Uttar Pradesh-based reporters through a video conference on Thursday.

“A detailed project report (DPR) for Yamuna is in place. In the initial phase, dredging will be done from Palla village to Wazirabad in Delhi,” the minister further said. “To make this project successful, there is a need to build barrages at two places, along with water gates, to ensure a three-metre water draft in Yamuna round-theyear. Only then can such aircraft navigate.”

Gadkari informed that there are three stakeholders in the fly boat project — Delhi Development Authority (DDA), Delhi Jal Board and his ministry — and a high-level meeting would be convened next month to discuss modalities of the project.

 Jal Board has been tasked with preventing effluents flowing into Yamuna; DDA will beautify the riverbanks; and the ministry of road transport and highways will oversee dredging works in order to maintain required water levels.
There is also a proposal to allow Delhi and Uttar Pradesh governments to utilize the dredged sand for construction of roads, a move that will reduce the cost of dredging that will clear up the riverbed of mud, weed and rubbish.
Gadkari also added that Canadian and Russian companies had evinced interest in supplying seaplanes to the country. Meanwhile, a seabus, manufactured in the US, which can also ply on roads, will roll out in Mumbai soon.
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