The Ministry of Shipping has cleared the decks for the development of aRs 156 crore freight village in Varanasi adjoining the Inland Waterways Terminal on River Ganga. The Varanasi freight village will be developed by the Inland Waterways Authority of India . It will serve as a cargo hub, and a centre for aggregation and value addition. It will also provide support to stimulate development of a professional logistics industry in Varanasi.
A World Bank pre-feasibility study had found Varanasi to be a suitable site for the freight village. The city is located strategically and is a focal point in the logistics chain of Eastern Transport Corridor of India where the National Waterways-1, Eastern Dedicated Freight Corridor (EDFC), National Highway-7 and National Highway-2 pass through. The volume of traffic on inland waterway to Varanasi is expected to increase with the commissioning of the multi modal terminal being built under the Jal Marg Vikas project. The estimated volume of traffic for Varanasi multi modal terminal is 3.55 MMT by 2020; 3.82 MMT by 2025; 10.12 MMT by 2035; and 10.32 MMT by 2045.
The Varanasi freight village is proposed to be developed over a land area of about 100 acres, which will be acquired in two phases – 70 acres in first phase and 30 acres in second phase at a total estimated cost of Rs 120 crores. Another pre-investment cost of Rs 45 crores is expected to be incurred on soft aspects of the projects such as procurement of consultancy service and operation of project management unit.