The Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) has been asked to prepare a detailed project report for reviving the 1,100 km-long Buckingham Canal (National Waterway No. 4) that runs through Yanam, Kakinada, Rajahmundry, Eluru, Vijayawada, Tenali, Nellore and Chennai. Govt of India recently opened the regional office of inland waterways in Vijayawada to monitor the progress of the DPR preparation and subsequent modernisation works. The project report is expected to be ready by next June.
The IWAI team recently visited the areas along the canal and found encroachments on canal bunds at many places. The canal also requires de-silting and deepening for easy movement of boats. At some places, the canals require widening and the navigation locks should also be widened to allow bigger boats. The canal should be at least 32 metres wide and 2.5 meters deep. But at many places in Nellore district it is less than six metres wide and only one metre deep.
The Buckingham Canal between Kakinada and Chennai can transport about 15 million tonnes of cargo can be transported using waterways between Kakinada and Pondicherry. The canal was used for navigation until 1980 after which it was closed down for cargo boats.