Free Sample essay on Water Transportation


Water transport had been in vogue in India since times immemorial. Prior to the introduction of rail system, waterways had been a major means of transport.

A large part of transportation used to be through rivers in North India before the advent of the rail system. Ganga and the Jamuna were major rivers for the purpose. Between Allahabad and Garhmukteshwer plying of steamers were common.

Kolkata to Agra stretch of the Jamuna River was navigable. Material used to be transported from Delhi to centers of Assam through water ways. Transportation through water is cheap, very suitable for heavy material, though slow.


It is efficient and environment friendly transport system. However, this system got neglected with the construction of roads and rails and start of automobiles and railways. Water way transport mode cannot stand in competition with road and rail systems, the later being very quick.

However, waterways still are in use wherever, conditions permit. They provide 1% of total transport in India. It is estimated that the total length of navigable waterways is 14,500 km. Out of this 37001cm is navigable by mechanized boats.

India has 4300 km navigable canals but only 900 km is navigable by mechanized crafts. About 18 million tones of cargo are transported through waterways. Water transportation is employment generating activity.

Water transport thrives in the States of West Bengal, Assam, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala, and to a limited extent in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Orissa, U.E, and Bihar. India has in all about 14,352 km of navigable waterways, of which only 3,500 km are navigable by steamers, and the rest by boats. Of the total waterways, 10,049 km consist of rivers and 4,303 km of canals.


The most important waterways in the country are the Brahamputa and Ganga, along with their many navigable tributaries; the delta and lower courses of the Mahanadi, Godavari and Krishna; the lower courses Narmada and Tapti; the creeks of the rivers of the West Coast, South Bombay- including Zuari and Mandovi rivers in Goa ; and the famous Buckingham canal of Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, the Vedaranniyam canal and the Cumbarjun canal connecting Mandovi and Zuari rivers in Goa.

There are 10 recognized National Waterways:

1. Ganga is the most significant waterway in India. It is a national water way. The entire Ganga route has been divided into three parts:

Haldia-Farakka (560 km), Farakka-Patna (460 km), Patna-Allahabad (600 km)


It is navigable up to Patna by mechanised boats and then by other boats up to Haridwar.

2. Brahmaputra. The river is navigable up to Dibrugarh, a distance of 1384 km. The river stretch from Sadiya to Dhubri has been declared National waterway.

The rivers of South India are short and seasonal thus not of much navigational use. However, the deltaic areas of Mahanadi, Godavari, Krishna, Narmada, Tapti back waters of Kera Mandvi and Zuari Rivers of Goa serve as waterways. A variety of materials are transported through these waterways. The Zuari and Mandvi rivers of Goa transport ores, timber, fish, coconut to the Mormugao port. The creeks of Kali Sharavati and Netravati on the West Coast are intensively used for navigation.

The 413 km Buckingham canal along the East Coast in A.P and TN is an important waterway. The canal gets inundated with sea water during high tide. The other navigable coasts are Kurnool, Midnapur and Cuddapah. Techno economic surveys have been done on Godavri, Krishna, Barak, Sunderbans, Buckingham canal, Brahmani East Coast canal and DVC canal have been found viable.


3. Kollam: Kottapuram stretch of West Coast canal (168 km).

4. Champakara canal: 140 km.

5. Udyogmandal canal: 22 km.

6. Godavari from Cherla-Rajamundry 208 km.


7. Sunder bans Water way.

8. waterway in Goa.

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