The Central Government proposes to launch the world’s longest river cruise between Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and Assam’s Dibrugarh on January 2023.
During its 50-day journey, the “Ganga Vilas” cruise will cover a distance of 4,000 km and pass through Bangladesh. It will start on January 10 and reach Dibrugarh on March 1 after visiting Kolkata and Dhaka.
The Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways – Sarbananda Sonowal, “It will be the single highest river journey by a single river ship in the world and would put both India and Bangladesh on the river cruise map of the world.”
The Varanasi-Dibrugarh cruise will operate on a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model. Besides, the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Antara Luxury River Cruises and JM Baxi River Cruises. The report said that the operators would decide the ticket price without the Centre’s intervention.
“The service will facilitate all kinds of tourists. Moreover, with the amendment to Indian Vessel Act, cruise lines would have a national permit to move seamlessly across states,” Sonowal said.
Following the amendment of the Indian Vessel Act, cruise liners would have a national permit to move seamlessly across states, he added.
The cruise will reach Patna on the 8th day from Varanasi. From there, it will reach Kolkata on the 20th day. After a day’s halt, it will again set sail for Bangladesh, where it will spend 15 days before entering India again and reaching Bogibeel (Dibrugarh).
The cruise will cover almost 1,100 km in Bangladesh before re-entering India via the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route, which has already opened trade and transit channels between the two countries and connects the Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers.