NEW DELHI: With an eye on attracting investments in the inland waterways sector, government is looking at facilitating more funding in that space to make it economically viable for business.

“We have to build terminals, waterports and seaports. We are ready to give you all facilities, concessions to make this sector economically viable for investors,” Minister for Road Transport, Highways and Shipping Nitin Gadkari said at an industry body ACMA’s event here today.

The sector has not been given due importance in the country vis-a-vis China, where waterways contribute 20 per cent of the total traffic, he said.

“We should have given more importance to the waterways sector. China’s waterways traffic is 20 per cent of its total traffic and India it is merely 0.5 per cent,” Gadkari said, adding that waterways are a cheaper mode of transport and have great potential.

Waterways are a fuel-efficient mode or transport with barely 55 paise a km charge as against Rs 1.5 on highways.

The minister had earlier suggested utilising the entire potential of the Ganga by using it as a waterway from Gangotri to Kanpur, and Kanpur to Patna, for transportation.

He had also hinted at setting up a Waterport Authority of India to facilitate plying of seaplanes.