Ganga Vilas Cruise | 13 Jan 2023

Why in News?

Recently, the Prime Minister of India flagged off the world’s longest river cruise, MV Ganga Vilas in Varanasi.

  • During the event, the Prime Minister also inaugurated Tent City in Varanasi and laid the foundation stones for several other inland waterways projects.

Ganga Vilas Cruise: What You Need to Know?

  • About:
    • The cruise will be managed by private operators, the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), under the Ministry of Shipping, Ports and Waterways (MoPSW) has supported the project.
    • It will explore forty historic sites on the banks of the river Ganga including, Mahabodhi temple, Hazarduari Palace, Katra Masjid, Bodh Gaya, Chandanagar church, Char Bangla Temple and more.
    • Besides connecting National Waterway 1 (NW-1) which includes Ganga and National Waterway 2 (NW-2) on Brahmaputra, the cruise will cross 27 river systems.
      • The Ganga - Bhagirathi-Hooghly River system between Haldia (Sagar) and Allahabad (1620 km) was declared as NW-1 in 1986.
    • The 51 days 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.
  • Significance:
    • The sector would generate employment opportunities in the hinterland.
    • The project will boost river cruise tourism and bring about a new age of tourism for India. The cruise has been curated to showcase the best of India to the world.
    • The journey will give foreign tourists an opportunity to embark upon an experiential voyage and indulge in the art, culture, history, and spirituality of India and Bangladesh.

What is the Inland Waterways Authority of India?

  • It came into existence on 27th October 1986 for the development and regulation of inland waterways for shipping and navigation.
  • It primarily undertakes projects for development and maintenance of IWT infrastructure on national waterways through grants received from the Ministry of Shipping.
  • It is headquartered in Noida with regional offices at Patna (Bihar), Kolkata (West Bengal), Guwahati (Assam) and Kochi (Kerala) and sub-offices at other places throughout India.

Source: IE