India has about 14,500 km of navigable waterways which comprises rivers, canals, backwaters, creeks, etc. About 50 million tonnes of cargo corresponding to 2.82 billion tonne km was transported in 2006-06 by Inland Water Transport (IWT). Its operations are currently restricted to a few streches in the Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly Rivers, The Brahmaputra, the Barak River, the rivers in Goa, the backwaters in Kerala, inland waters in Mumbai and the deltaic regions of the Godavari-Krishna rivers. Besides the organised operations by mechanised vessels, country boats of various capacites also operate in various rivers and canals. Data of cargo and passenger movement in unorganised sector (i.e. by country boats, etc.) has not been compiled but it is a fact tht substantial quantum of cargo and passengers are transported in the unorganised sector as well.
Inland Waterways Authority of India The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) came into existence on 27 October 1986 for development and regulation of inland waterways for shipping and navigation. The Authority primarily undertakes projects for development and maintenance of IWT infrastructure on national waterways through grant received from Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport and Highways. The head office of the Authority is located at Noida. The Authority also has its regional offices at Patna, Kolkata, Guwahati and Kochi and sub-offices at Allahabad, Varanasi, Bhagalpur, Farakka and Kollam.
National Waterways The Ganga between Allahabad-Haldia (1620 km) the Sadiya-Dhubri stretch of river Brahmaputra (891 km) and Kollam-Kottapuram stretch of West Coast Canal along with Champakara and Udyogmandal Canals (205 km) in Kerala have so far been declared as National Waterways and are being developed for navigation by IWAI. Bills for declaration of 3 more waterways viz. Talcher-Darmra stretch of canals;Kakainada-Puducherry stretch of canals etc. and the Barak Rivers as National Waterways have already been introduced in the Parliament.