The Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Sarbananda Sonowal termed the arrival of Ganga Vilas cruise ship at Dhubri in Assam, India as a ‘watershed moment’ in the inland waterways transportation towards transformation of the Northeast India. The Minister congratulated the people of Assam and the Northeast on this historic moment that is set to unlock huge potential of river tourism, allowing trickle down development for people across the bank of the Brahmaputra.
Speaking on the occasion, the Union Minister, Sarbananda Sonowal said, “Today is a historic day for the people of Assam and for the Northeast India. Our endeavour towards reclaiming the glory of Assam’s trade and commerce got a tremendous boost with the successful passage of Ganga Vilas. We have a history of flourishing trade and commerce via inland waterways before the partition. As the possibilities were turned into realities, the successful voyage of Ganga Vilas has opened a new vista of possibilities, opportunities and realities. The vision of our dynamic Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi ji to bring transformation via transportation has been realised as Ganga Vilas enters the Assam phase of its journey. The positive response from the tourists onboard the ship bears testament to the possibility of bright days of river cruise tourism on Ganga and Brahmaputra. We remain committed towards re-energising our rich inter web of river systems to unlock value & bring development to the interiors of our country. This watershed moment of inland water transportation will unveil progress and development in the Northeast region, as it readies itself to propel as the engine of growth of India under the powerful leadership of PM Narendra Modi ji.”
Flagged off by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the historic cruise set sail from Varanasi on January 13, 2023, and, after traversing through Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand and West Bengal as well as Bangladesh, arriving at Dhubri in Assam on its 39 day of the voyage. Dubbed as the longest river cruise in the world, the Varanasi to Bogibeel voyage by the Ganga Vilas is scheduled to complete the journey on March 1, 2023, when it anchors at Bogibeel in Dibrugarh drawing a close to its 51 day cruise.
Upon arrival at Dhubri, the ship was anchored on the Brahmaputra and the guests were taken via MV Pratima to the reach jetty at Dhubri Customs Port for immigration clearance. The 28 tourists travelling on this landmark voyage, were received by the Deputy Commissioner of Dhubri along with Regional Director of Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) along with other officials of IWT and Tourism departments of the government. The tourists were given refreshments as they relished local delicacies served with tea – the state drink of Assam. Many Self Help Groups (SHGs) from the area put up stalls where the tourists witnessed the local crafts like products made of jute, artefacts made of Terracotta, & Kuhila were widely displayed. A dance troupe also performed traditional Koch Rajbongshi dance as the tourists enjoyed a relaxing evening by the Brahmaputra.
A detailed tour in and around Dhubri town has been prepared where the local cultural heritage, crafts and other tourist attractions will be showcased. The tourists will visit the famous Asarikandi village known for its craft to witness the production of artefacts made out of terracotta. A religious visit to Guru Teg Bahadur Sahib ji & Darshana of Holy Peepal tree has also been planned along with a visit to Victoria park. Ganga Vilas will resume its onwards journey from Dhubri to Goalpara around noon tomorrow; i.e., February 18, 2023.