On the occasion, Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal said that the arrival of the Ganga Vilas cruise ship in Dhurbi, Assam, marks a “watershed” inland waterway transport transformation for India to transform Northeast India.
Sonowal added that this is a historic day for the people of Assam and north east India. “This will unlock tremendous potential for river tourism and enable continued development for the people living on the banks of the Brahmaputra.”
He said that efforts to regain the glory of Assam’s trade and commerce received a tremendous boost from the successful passage of Ganga Vilas. “We have a history of thriving trade and commerce via inland waterways before partition. As the possibilities turned into reality, the successful journey of Ganga Vilas has opened a new perspective on possibilities, opportunities and realities.”
The minister added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of bringing about transformation through transportation has been realized as Ganga Vilas enters the Assam phase of his trip. “The positive response from tourists on board the ship bears witness to the prospect of bright days of river cruise tourism on Ganga and Brahmaputra. We remain committed to revitalizing our rich network of river systems to unlock value and bring development to the interior of our country. This turning point in inland shipping will unveil the progress and development in the North East region which is preparing to propel forward as India’s growth engine.”
On arrival at Dhubri, the ship was anchored on the Brahmaputra and guests were transferred via the MV Pratima to the pier at Dhubri Customs Port for immigration clearance.
“The 32 tourists from Switzerland traveling on this landmark voyage were received by the Deputy Commissioner of Dhubri along with the Regional Director of the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) along with other officials from the Government’s Inland Waterways and Tourism Departments. Tourists received refreshments while enjoying local delicacies served with tea – Assam’s state drink,” the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways said.
Many self-help groups (SHGs) in the area set up stalls for tourists to see local handicrafts such as jute products, terracotta artifacts and kuhila, which were widely exhibited. A dance group also performed the traditional cook Rajbongshi dance as tourists enjoyed a relaxing evening at the Brahmaputra.
“A detailed tour in and around the city of Dhubri has been prepared, showcasing local cultural heritage, handicrafts and other tourist attractions. The tourists visit the famous Asarikandi village, known for its handicrafts, to witness the production of terracotta artefacts. A religious visit to Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib ji and Darshana of Holy Peepal Tree are also planned along with a visit to Victoria Park. Ganga Vilas will continue his onward journey from Dhubri to Goalpara around noon tomorrow; i.e. February 18, 2023,” the ministry added.
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