Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off the world’s longest river cruise from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh to Guwahati in Assam, on January 13 via video conferencing.
The MV Ganga Vilas cruise ship will set off from Varanasi and travel a distance of 3,200 km over 51 days, passing through Bangladesh and ending in Dibrugarh, Assam. It will traverse 27 river systems in the two countries. Modi stated that the 51-day river cruise offers a rare chance to reconnect with the country’s cultural heritage and explore the many diverse aspects of India.
According to a statement from Uttar Pradesh Tourism Minister Jaiveer Singh issued in Lucknow, the cruise will cover 50 tourist destinations including world heritage sites, national parks, river ghats and major cities like Patna in Bihar, Shahiganj in Jharkhand, Kolkata in West Bengal, Dhaka in Bangladesh and Guwahati in Assam.As many as 36 tourists from three countries, including Switzerland and Germany, will be seated in the cruise, he said. Terming the river cruise a new chapter of tourism in India, he said that in future, other rivers of Uttar Pradesh will be connected.
The journey covers around 3,200 km in 51 days to reach Dibrugarh in Assam via Bangladesh, traversing across 27 river systems in the two countries.
In a tweet, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath said, “Symbolising the speed, power and strength of ‘New India’, this river cruise will add new chapters of unity in ‘Ek Bharat-Shreshtha Bharat.” Special efforts have been made for extending all possible comforts to the tourists in the journey with minute details worked out to provide them once-in-a lifetime experience, officials said.
Giving details of the cruise, its director Raj Singh said this five-star moving hotel has 18 suites with the capacity of 36 tourists. Apart from this, it has accommodation for 40 crew members. The cruise has also been fitted with facilities such as spa, salon and gym. To enjoy this luxury, a tourist will have to pay a fare of Rs 25,000 to Rs 50,000 a day. The total cost for the 51-day journey will come to around Rs 20 lakh for each passenger, Singh said.
On January 13, Prime Minister Modi will also inaugurate a ‘Tent City’ on the banks of the Ganga river in Varanasi. The ‘Tent City’ at Varanasi has been conceptualised on the banks of the River Ganga to tap the potential of tourism in the region, the PMO said.
Tourists will access the “Tent City” by boat from nearby ghats. The “Tent City” will be open from October to June annually, and will be taken down for three months during the rainy season due to increased water levels in the river. Additionally, Modi will open the Haldia Multi Modal Terminal in West Bengal, which is part of the Jal Marg Vikas Project and has a cargo handling capacity of 3 million metric tonnes per year and can accommodate vessels up to 3,000 deadweight tonnage.
Modi will also inaugurate four floating community jetties in Saidpur, Chochakpur, Zamania in Ghazipur district and Kanspur in Ballia district in Uttar Pradesh. He will also lay the foundation stone for five more community jetties in Digha, Nakta Diyara, Barh, Panapur in Patna district and Hasanpur in Samastipur district in Bihar.
More than 60 community jetties are being built along the Ganges in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal to improve economic activities and the livelihoods of local communities. These jetties will provide simple logistics solutions for small farmers, fishery units, unorganized farm producing units, horticulturists, florists, and artisans focusing on economic activities in and around the Ganges hinterland. Modi will also inaugurate the Maritime Skill Development Center for the North East in Guwahati, which will help improve the skills of the local talent pool and provide better employment opportunities in the logistics industry.