Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off world’s longest river cruise MV Ganga Vilas and will inaugurate Tent City at Varanasi on Friday via video conferencing.
He will also inaugurate and lay the foundation stones for several other inland waterways projects worth more than Rs 1,000 crore during the event.
MV Ganga Vilas will begin its journey from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and travel around 3,200 km in 51 days to reach Dibrugarh in Assam via Bangladesh, sailing across 27 river systems in India and Bangladesh. MV Ganga Vilas has three decks, 18 suites on board with a capacity of 36 tourists, with all the luxury amenities. The maiden voyage has 32 tourists from Switzerland signing up for the entire length of the journey.
The MV Ganga Vilas cruise is curated to bring out the best of the country to be showcased to the world. The 51 days cruise is planned with visits to 50 tourist spots including World Heritage Sites, National Parks, River Ghats and major cities like Patna in Bihar, Sahibganj in Jharkhand, Kolkata in West Bengal, Dhaka in Bangladesh and Guwahati in Assam. The journey will give the tourists an opportunity to embark upon an experiential voyage and indulge in the art, culture, history, and spirituality of India and Bangladesh.
In line with the PM’s endeavour to boost river cruise tourism, the huge untapped potential of river cruise will get unlocked with the launch of this service and it will herald a new age of river cruise tourism for India.
The PM will also inaugurate the Tent City which has been conceptualised on the banks of Ganga river to tap the potential of tourism in the region. The project has been developed opposite to city Ghats which will provide accommodation facilities and cater to the increased tourists influx in Varanasi, especially since the inauguration of Kashi Vishwanath Dham.
It has been developed by Varanasi Development Authority (VDA) on PPP mode. The tourists will reach the Tent City by boats from different Ghats situated in the vicinity. The tent city will be operational from October to June every year and will be dismantled for three months due to rise in river water level in the rainy season.
The PM will also inaugurate Haldia Multi Modal Terminal in West Bengal. Developed under Jal Marg Vikas Project, Haldia Multi Modal Terminal has a cargo handling capacity of around over 3 Million Metric Tons Per Annum (MMTPA) and the berths are designed to handle vessels up to around 3,000 Deadweight tonnage (DWT).
The PM will also inaugurate four floating community jetties at Saidpur, Chochakpur, Zamania in Ghazipur district and at Kanspur in Ballia district in UP. Besides, foundation stone will be laid for the five Community Jetties at Digha, Nakta Diyara, Barh, Panapur in Patna district and Hasanpur in Samastipur district in Bihar by the PM.
More than 60 community jetties are being constructed along river Ganga across the states of UP, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal to boost the economic activities and improve the livelihoods of local communities in the region.
The community jetties would play a key role in improving the livelihoods of people by providing simple logistics solutions for small farmers, fishery units, unorganised farm producing units, horticulturists, florists and artisans focusing on economic activities in and around the hinterland of river Ganga.
The PM will also inaugurate Maritime Skill Development Centre for North East at Guwahati. It will help in honing the rich talent pool in the North Eastern region and will provide for better employment opportunities in the burgeoning logistics industry.
In addition to these, the PM will also lay the foundation stone for a ship repair facility and an elevated road at Pandu Terminal in Guwahati. The Ship Repair facility at the Pandu Terminal will save a lot of valuable time as it takes more than a month for a ship to be transported to the Kolkata Repair facility and back.
Moreover, it will also result in huge savings in terms of money as the transportation cost of the ship will also be saved. The dedicated road connecting the Pandu Terminal to NH 27 will enable 24 hour connectivity.