Somatirtha Purohit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off World’s longest river cruise-MV Ganga Vilas and will inaugurate the Tent City at Varanasi at 10.30 AM on Friday via video conferencing.

PM Modi will also inaugurate and lay the foundation stones for several other inland waterways projects worth more than Rs. 1000 crores during the event.

MV Ganga Vilas will begin its journey from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh and travel around 3,200 km in 51 days to reach Dibrugarh in Assam via Bangladesh, sailing across 27 river systems in India and Bangladesh.

The cruise has three decks, 18 suites on board with a capacity of 36 tourists, with all the luxury amenities. The maiden voyage has 32 tourists from Switzerland signing up for the entire length of the journey.

The cruise has been curated to bring out the best of the country to be showcased to the world. The cruise is planned with visits to 50 tourist spots, including world heritage sites, national parks, river 'ghats' and major cities like Patna in Bihar, Sahibganj in Jharkhand, Kolkata in West Bengal, Dhaka in Bangladesh and Guwahati in Assam.

The journey will give the tourists an opportunity to embark upon an experiential voyage and indulge in the art, culture, history, and spirituality of India and Bangladesh.

In line with PM’s endeavour to boost river cruise tourism, the huge untapped potential of river cruise will get unlocked with the launch of this service and it will herald a new age of river cruise tourism for India.

The 'Tent City' in Varanasi has been conceptualised on the banks of the River Ganga to tap the potential of tourism in the region, the PMO release said.

The project has been developed opposite city ghats which will provide accommodation facilities and cater to the increased tourists influx in Varanasi, especially since the inauguration of the Kashi Vishwanath Dham.

It has been developed by the Varanasi Development Authority in PPP mode. The tourists will reach the 'Tent City' by boats from different ghats situated in the vicinity. The 'Tent City' will be operational from October to June every year and will be dismantled for three months due to rise in river water level in the rainy season.

In addition to these, PM Modi will also lay the foundation stone for a ship repair facility and an elevated road at Pandu Terminal in Guwahati. The ship repair facility at the Pandu Terminal will save a lot of valuable time as it takes more than a month for a ship to be transported to the Kolkata repair facility and back.