MV Ganga Vilas has put India and Bangladesh on the world river cruising map: Sonowal

Sarbananda Sonowal, Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways, said the MV Ganga Vilas has put India and Bangladesh on the world map for river cruises.

Sonowal welcomed the “MV Ganga Vilas”, the world’s longest river cruise culminating in Dibrugarh, and hailed it as a historic and groundbreaking event to be witnessed in the inland waterway sector since India’s independence 75 years ago.

MV Ganga Vilas arrived in Bogibeel at 2:30pm on Tuesday, when dignitaries led by Sonowal gave a warm welcome to all 28 foreign tourists traveling on board. With the successful completion of her maiden voyage covering a distance of over 3200 km, the MV Ganga Vilas opens up new opportunities in river tourism potential throughout the South Asian region.

Earlier on January 13, 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagged out the MV Ganga Vilas – the first Indian-made cruise ship in India – from Varanasi. Built with a unique design and futuristic vision, the cruise features three decks and 18 suites Board with a capacity of 36 tourists. It is already booked for the next two years. During this groundbreaking voyage, the tourists traveling on board had the opportunity to travel over famous places such as Patna Sahib, Bodh Gaya, Vikramshila, Dhaka, the Sunderbans and the Kaziranga before reaching Dibrugarh in Assam today.

Sonowal said: “The successful completion of the world’s longest river cruise, MV Ganga Vilas, exemplified how India, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji, is ready to explore new horizons to unlock values ​​for the country. The robustness of the ship over the course of this voyage demonstrates 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 PM Modi ji’s vision to bring about transformation through transport. We continue to work under the dynamic leadership of PM Modi ji towards the realization of the Maritime India Vision, 2030; Sagarmal by 2035 along with PM Gati Shakti National Master Plan and National Logistics Policy. Today we have reached another milestone in unleashing the tremendous potential of India’s blue economy.”

Sonowal said: “Our glorious history of river trading is being recaptured today with the successful completion of the world’s longest river cruise here. Under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji, we have reclaimed our access from Brahmaputra to international maritime trade routes via the Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route (IBPR) and coastal ecosystem. The entire river economy through Arth Ganga has received a great boost from the success of this river cruise. The Prime Minister’s dream of an alternative mode of transport that is economical, safe and environmentally sustainable was truly realized with today’s success. I firmly believe that by investing more in river transport, we can turn Modi ji’s noble initiative of Net Zero – with significant reductions in pollution – into an economical option. As North East India prepares to fuel the growth engine of India with its rich river system, I am sure that the historic city of Dibrugarh and the wider region will continue to be excited about the potential for trade and commerce it brings in the days to come.”

MV Ganga Vilas has put India and Bangladesh on the world river cruise map. It has opened a new perspective and vertical for tourism and cargo transportation in the Indian subcontinent. Tourists from home and abroad who want to experience spirituality now have the opportunity to visit destinations like Kashi, Bodh Gaya, Vikramshila, Patna Sahib and those who want to explore 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 India and Bangladesh.

Sonowal congratulated everyone who contributed to the success of the world’s longest river cruise with the MV Ganga Vilas and encouraged all other private operators to find the river cruise itineraries of their choice on different waterways and to get into this burgeoning sector and be a part of river cruise tourism- Ecosystem in the country for the broader prosperity of the country, especially the Northeast region. He appealed to all entrepreneurs and trade leaders to work together to benefit from the waterways.

The seamless movement of MV Ganga Vilas has established the feasibility of seamless movement of ships between Ganga Valley and Brahmaputra Valley; i.e. from Varanasi to Dibrugarh via Calcutta using the IBPR. For North East India, the greatest highlight of the MV Ganga Vilas successful journey is the opportunity to use the inland waterways to reach the seaports and gain access to the international trade routes.

Shripad Yesso Naik, Union Minister of State for Ports, Shipping and Waterways and Tourism, said: “The success of MV Ganga Vilas in operating the world’s longest river cruise reaffirms the Modi government’s commitment to expanding opportunities for holistic development of the country renew. The potential of river cruise tourism has proven huge with the success of Ganga Vilas. The encouraging response from foreign tourists exploring India via river routes is a wonderful avenue for the country’s tourism sector, while the country’s peripheral river economy is also likely to receive a boost.”

Under the Jal Marg Vikas project of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways (MoPSW), Narendra Modi government is investing more than 6,000 rupees to revamp the inland waterways through the Arth Ganga and Mahabahu Brahmaputra projects. This is crucial for the comprehensive development of Northeast India.

Freight transport by ship is cheaper than other means of transport. A freight train can carry 2000 metric tons

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