Guwahati: Come 2023 and Assam to enter the global map of river cruises as the Centre has proposed to run the world’s longest luxury river cruise from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh to Dibrugarh in Assam via Bangladesh.
Scheduled to start on January 10, it will cover 4,000-km long and take 50 days to complete the journey from Varanasi t Dibrugarh. It will pass through Kolkata and Dhaka in Bangladesh before reaching Bogibeel in the Dibrugarh district on March 1.
Union minister of ports, shipping, and waterways Sarbananda Sonowal informed media that the Ganga Vilas cruise will sail from Varanasi to Dibrugarh in the longest river journey of 50 days covering 27 river systems and visit over 50 tourist sites including World Heritage Sites.
He added that this will be the single largest 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 which would be run on a public-private partnership (PPP) model was an initiation after the government’s Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) signed an agreement with Antara Luxury River Cruises and JM Baxi River Cruises for the initiative earlier.
However, the ticket price would be decided by the operators without the Centre’s intervention.
Sonowal added, “The service will facilitate all kinds of tourists. After the amendment of the Indian Vessel Act, cruise liners would have a national permit to move seamlessly across states, he added. This will be possible under the Indo-Bangladesh Protocol Route, which has already opened trade and transit channels connecting the two countries on Ganga and Brahmaputra rivers.”