The inland waterways of Goa may soon be nationalised if the State government gives a green signal to a proposal put forward by the National Waterways Authority of India (NWAI).

Senior NWAI officials were in Goa to hold discussions with the Goa government on nationalising the inland waterways, especially Mandovi and Zuari rivers, frequently used by iron ore barges to transport minerals.

“It is for the State government to decide on nationalisation and the proposal would not be thumped on them,” NWAI Chairman S. P. Gaur said in an event organised by Goa Chamber of Commerce and Industries (GCCI) here on Thursday.

If the proposal goes through, Goa’s waters would be the fifth in the country to be nationalised and developed by the central agency.

Goan waterways are used by 1,000-odd barges besides shipping trawlers and passenger ferry boats on daily basis.

The State’s major mineral industry uses the inland waterways to carry the ore from mines to transshipers.

NWAI’s initial estimates indicate that the state would need Rs. 400-500 crores to develop the waterways, river banks and also navigational gadgets helping the ship movement during night time.

Currently, the ships cannot explore the complete potential of the waterways because of many factors including the night time visibility issue.. Once developed properly, all these issues would be solved, thereby increasing the productivity,” Mr. Gaur said.

The NWAI Chairman during his Goa visit, interacted with major industry players in the programme hosted by GCCI.

Allaying fears of the step taking away rights of the state government, Mr. Gaur said the agency would only look after the development aspect while regulation will still remain with the State.

“We have nothing to do with the areas surrounding the rivers. We will be looking after only the navigational channel,” he added.

NWAI officials said that the State government can boost its revenue with nationalisation as the trade along the inland waterways will increase manifold.