New Delhi– The Lok Sabha on Tuesday passed a bill that allocates 2.5 percent of the cess levied on high speed diesel and petrol under the Central Road Fund Act towards the development and maintenance of national waterways.

The Central Road Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2017 was passed in the house after a brief debate.

Moving the bill for passage, Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari said that national waterways provide a cost-effective, logistically-efficient and environment-friendly mode of transport, whose development as a supplementary mode would enable diversion of traffic from the over-congested roads and railways.

He said enactment of the National Waterways Act, 2016 has paved the way for better regulation and development of the 111 national waterways in the country, the infrastructure in terms of jetties, terminals, navigational channels continues to be a challenge.

The minister said that one of the sustainable sources of funding for the development of waterways is to earmark certain percentage of cess levied and collected on high speed diesel and petrol under the Central Road Fund Act, 2000.

He said the bill intends to rationalise the CRF Act to provide two and one-half per cent of the cess on high speed diesel and petrol for the development and maintenance of national waterways.

“This would accelerate the development of national waterways by utilising the fund generated by way of cess,” said Gadkari, adding that the bill also offers incentives and certainty for private sector to invest in inland waterways transport sector. (IANS)

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