New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the ‘world’s longest river cruise’ MV Ganga Vilas and inaugurate a ‘tent city’ on the banks of the Ganges in Varanasi on January 13 via video conference.
His office said in a statement that he will also inaugurate and lay foundation stones for several other inland waterway projects worth over ₹1,000 crores during the event.
MV Ganga Vilas will start its journey from Varanasi and sail approximately 3,200 km in 51 days to reach Dibrugarh in Assam via Bangladesh, crossing 27 river systems in both countries, it said.
PM Modi said the 51-day river cruise is a unique opportunity to connect with the country’s cultural roots and discover the beautiful aspects of its diversity.
The cruise ship has three decks, 18 suites on board with a capacity of 36 tourists, and all luxury amenities. 32 tourists from Switzerland signed up for the first cruise for the entire length of the trip, he noted.
The Prime Minister’s Office said the cruise was designed to bring the best of the country to the world. The cruise is planned to visit 50 tourist sites, including world heritage sites, national parks, river ‘ghats’, and major cities such as Patna in Bihar, Sahibganj in Jharkhand, Kolkata in West Bengal, Dhaka in Bangladesh, and Guwahati in Assam.
The journey will provide tourists with an opportunity to embark on an experiential cruise and immerse themselves in the art, culture, history, and spirituality of India and Bangladesh.
In line with the Prime Minister’s drive to boost river cruise tourism, the service will help unlock the huge untapped potential of the industry and usher in a new age of tourism for India, the company said.
A “tent city” in Varanasi has been conceived on the banks of the Ganges River to tap the tourism potential of the region, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
The project has been developed opposite the city ghats to provide accommodation and cater to the increased influx of tourists in Varanasi, especially since the inauguration of the Kashi Vishwanath Dham.
It was developed by Varanasi Development Authority under PPP mode. Tourists can reach the ‘tent town’ by boats from various ghats located nearby. The “tent city” will be in operation from October to June every year and will be dismantled for three months due to the rising river water level during the rainy season.
Among other projects, PM Modi will inaugurate Haldia Multi-Modal Terminal in West Bengal. Developed under the Jal Marg Vikas project, it has a cargo handling capacity of approximately three million metric tonnes per annum (MMTPA) and the berths are designed to handle vessels up to approximately 3000 deadweights (DWT).
PM Modi will also inaugurate four floating community jetties at Saidpur, Chochakpur, and Zamania in the Ghazipur district and Kanspur in the Ballia district of Uttar Pradesh.
In addition, Prime Minister Modi will lay the foundation stone for five community jetties at 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 Ganga in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal to boost economic activities and improve the livelihoods of local communities in the region, the Prime Minister’s Office said.
Community jetties would play a key role in improving people’s livelihoods by providing simple logistics solutions to small farmers, fishing units, unorganized farm production units, gardeners, florists, and artisans engaged in economic activities around the Ganges.
PM Modi will also inaugurate a Maritime Skill Development Center for North East in Guwahati. It will help hone the rich talent pool in the North East region and provide better job opportunities in the growing logistics industry.
Besides, the PMO said, PM Modi, will also lay the foundation stone for the ship repair facility and elevated road at Pandu Terminal in Guwahati. The ship repair facility at Pandu Terminal will save a lot of valuable time as it takes more than a month to transport a ship to the repair shop in Kolkata and back.
Moreover, it will also lead to huge savings in terms of money as the cost of transporting the ship will also be saved. A dedicated road connecting the Pandu terminal with NH 27 will provide 24-hour connectivity, the Prime Minister’s Office said.