New Delhi–The Inland Water Authority of India (IWAI) has inked an contract with the DST of Germany to design vessels especially suited to navigate the 1,620-km stretch of National Waterways (NW)-1, an official statement said on Wednesday.

According to the Shipping Ministry, the hiring of the German firm is a revolutionary step and a milestone in the journey of NW-1.

“The objective of IWAI is to go along with nature and disturb the river minimally. The specially designed vessels will navigate on low drafts and will be of high carrying capacity, and most importantly, will be environment friendly,” said the statement.

The government is developing NW-1 under the Jal Marg Vikas Project, with assistance from the World Bank at an estimated cost of Rs 4,200 crore. The project would enable commercial navigation of vessels with capacity of 1500-2,000 tons.

“Considering the expected growth of the Inland Waterways sector in India, DST, Germany, is expected to develop a combination of standardised vessels to meet the requirement of various types of cargo,” the statement said. (IANS)