The world’s longest river cruise ‘MV Ganga Vilas’ on Tuesday reached Dibrugarh, concluding its 50-day river expedition that began from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh on January 13. Welcoming ‘MV Ganga Vilas’ at its culminating destination in Dibrugarh, Sarbananda Sonowal, Minister of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW) hailed it as a historic and path-breaking event to be witnessed in the Inland Waterways sector since India’s Independence 75 years ago.
MV Ganga Vilas arrived at Bogibeel at 2.30pm on Tuesday as the dignitaries led by Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal
accorded a warm welcome to all the 28 foreign tourists
travelling onboard. With the successful end of its maiden
journey covering a distance of over 3,200 kms, the MV Ganga Vilas opens up a new vista of opportunity in the river tourism potential in the entire South Asia region.
Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged off MV
Ganga Vilas – the first indigenously made cruise vessel in India – from Varanasi on January 13. Built with a unique design
and a futuristic vision, the cruise has three decks and 18 suites
on board with a capacity of 36 tourists. It is already booked for
to and fro journey for the next two years. During this epoch
making journey, the tourists travelling onboard had an
opportunity to travel via iconic places like Patna Sahib, Bodh
Gaya, Vikramshila, Dhaka, the Sunderbans and the Kaziranga
before reaching Dibrugarh in Assam on Tuesday.
Speaking on the historic moment,
Sarbanada Sonowal said, “The successful completion of world
longest river cruise, MV Ganga Vilas, has exemplified how India under the leadership of PM Narendra Modi is ready to explore newer horizons to unlock value for the country. The
robustness of the ship during the course of this journey shows how our tremendous strength in ship building capacity is a world class enterprise. The successful cruise movement as well as cargo movement on inland waterways is a testament to the vision of PM
Modi to bring about transformation through transportation. We
continue to work under the dynamic leadership of PM Modi towards achieving Maritime India Vision, 2030; Sagarmal by
2035 along with PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan and
National Logistics Policy. Today, we have realised another
milestone to unlock tremendous potential in blue economy of India.”
Speaking on the huge boost to the river economy in the
Northeast region, Sonowal
said, “Our glorious history of riverine trade is set to be reclaimed with the successful completion of world longest river cruise here today. With the visionary leadership of PM Narendra Modi, we have reclaimed our access from Brahmaputra to international
marine trade routes via Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBPR) and coastal ecosystem. The entire riverine economy through Arth Ganga has received a magnificent boost through the success of this River Cruise. The dream of the Prime Minister for an alternate transport which is economical, safe and environmentally sustainable
has been truly realised with this success today. I firmly believe that
by investing more in river transportation, we can make Modi ji’s noble initiative of Net Zero – with considerable reduction in
pollution, economical option. As the Northeast India gets ready to power the engine of growth of India with its rich riverine system, I
am sure the historic city of Dibrugarh and the whole region remains excited about the trade and commercial potential it carries forth in the ensuing days.”
‘MV Ganga Vilas’ has put India and Bangladesh on the river cruise map of the world. It has opened a new vista and vertical
for tourism and freight carriage in the Indian sub-continent.
Tourists, both domestic and global who would like to experience
spirituality now have the opportunity to visit destinations like
Kashi, Bodh Gaya, Vikramshila, Patna Sahib and those who
want to explore the natural diversity will cover destinations like Sundarbans and Kaziranga. Through this route tourists have an immersive expedition while exploring the art, culture, history,
and spirituality of both India and Bangladesh.
Sarbanda Sonowal while hailing the success of the world’s longest river cruise journey by MV Ganga Vilas appealed to the private
sector operators to identify the river cruise circuits of their choice on various waterways and to enter this nascent sector and be a part of river cruise tourism ecosystem in the country for the wider prosperity of the country specially North Eastern
Region. He appeal to all entrepreneurs and trade leaders to
work together for reaping benefit from waterways.
The seamless movement of MV Ganga Vilas has established the
viability of seamless movement of vessels between Ganga Valley and Brahmaputra Valley i.e. from Varanasi to Dibrugarh via
Kolkata, Sonowal said.
Speaking on the occasion, Shripad Yesso Naik, the Union Minister of State for Ports, Shipping & Waterways and
Tourism said, “The success of MV Ganga Vilas in completing
world longest river cruise establish the commitment of the Modi government to renew possibilities for holistic development of the country. The potential of river cruise tourism has been proven huge
with the success of Ganga Vilas. The encouraging response from
foreign tourists to explore India via river ways is a wonderful
avenue for the tourism sector of the country while the peripheral
riverine economy of the country is also likely to get a boost.”
Under the Jal Marg Vikas Project of the Ministry of Ports,
Shipping & Waterways (MoPSW), the Narendra Modi
government is investing more than Rs 6,000 crores to revamp the
inland waterways through Arth Ganga and Mahabahu
Brahmaputra projects. This is pivotal to the all round development of the Northeast India, Naik said.
Speaking on the occasion, the Union Minister of State for
Ports, Shipping & Waterways, Shantanu Thakur said, “The
focus on the development of east India, particularly the Northeast,
has been a major initiative by Prime Minister
Narendra Modi ji. With the success of Ganga Vilas voyage, the entire region – from Varanasi to Kolkata and upto Dibrugarh – is
likely to receive a boost in terms of riverine potential. The success of cargo and passenger voyage has opened up a new door of opportunity for the trading community of the region. The
affordable, efficient and environment friendly inland water
transportation is going to play a crucial role in ensuring a
sustainable growth in the region.”
The event was also attended by
Minister of State, Ministry of Shipping, Government of
Bangladesh, Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury, Union Minister of State for Labour &
Employment and Petroleum & Natural Gas Rameswar Teli, Union Minister of State for Education and External Affairs, Dr Rajkumar
Ranjan, Assam minister Jayanta Malla Baruah, Lok Sabha MP from Arunachal Pradesh Tapir Gao, Assam MP Pradan Baruah, Secretary, Ministry of
Ports, Shipping & Waterways Sudhansh Pant, Chairman,
Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) Sanjay Bandopadhyay among others.