Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) will be starting a new Roll on-Roll off (Ro-Ro) facility in collaboration with the Government of Assam to provide the much-needed connectivity for Majuli Island. This Ro-Ro facility will cut down the circuitous road route of 423 KMs that trucks take from Neamati to Majuli Island via Tezpur Road Bridge, by limiting the distance to only 12.7 KM with the use of river route.
Majuli is one of the biggest riverine islands in the world located on river Brahmaputra and faces serious challenges of connectivity. It has 144 villages with a population of over 1,50,000. The commencement of Ro-Ro services to Majuli island would be a landmark event towards augmenting connectivity not only in Assam but the entire North Eastern Region.
Earlier, IWAI had started a similar Ro-Ro service between Dhubri and Hatsingimari which reduced the travel distance by 190 KMs. A permanent Ro-Ro terminal was constructed at Dhubri for the purpose. Floating terminals have also been constructed at 11 locations along the length of the Brahmaputra waterway.
The term ro-ro is generally reserved for large ocean-going vessels. The vessels have either built-in or shore-based ramps that allow the cargo to be efficiently rolled on and off the vessel when in port. This is in opposition to the lift-on and lift-off (lo-lo) vessels, which use a crane to load and unload cargo.
Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) is the statutory authority in charge of the waterways in India. Its headquarters is located in Noida, UP. It does the function of building the necessary infrastructure in these waterways, surveying the economic feasibility of new projects and also administration.