Inland Waterways Authority of India has the responsibility of navigating the water channels of India and ensuring the smooth carriage of cargo across Indian waters. India has about 14,500 km of navigable waterways which comprise of rivers, canals, backwaters, creeks, etc. About 55 million tones of cargo is being moved annually by Inland Water Transport (IWT), in a fuel - efficient and environment -friendly mode. Its operations are currently restricted to a few stretches in the Ganga-Bhagirathi-Hooghly Rivers, the Brahmaputra River, the Barak River, the rivers in Goa, the backwaters in Kerala, inland waters in Mumbai and the deltaic regions of the Godavari - Krishna River. Besides these organized operations by mechanized vessels, country boats of various capacities also operate in various rivers and canals and a substantial quantum of cargo and passengers are transported in this unorganized sector as well.
The various areas of activity of the Inland Waterways Authority of India include monitoring and surveying the national waterways, navigation, infrastructure and regulation, fairway development, pilotage and co-ordination of IWT with other modes. Apartg from this the IWAI also advises the Central Government on pertinent issues, carries out hydrographic surveys, assists State Governments, develops consultancy services, is involved in research and development, carries out the classification of waterways and establishes standards and safety.
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