A memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed Central and Assam government organisations to connect seven religious’ sites in and around Guwahati along the Brahmaputra through waterways, reports Utpal Parashar for HT.
The MoU for development of ‘Riverine Based Religious Tourism Circuit’ was signed by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), Sagarmala Development Company Limited (SDCL), Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) and Department of Inland Waterways Transport (DIWT) of Assam government.
The MoU will facilitate modern ferry service on a ‘Hop On Hop Off’ among seven historic religious sites namely Kamakhya, Pandunath, Ashwaklanta, Doul Govinda, Umananda, Chakreshwar and Auniati Satra around Guwahati.
“Today’s signing ceremony is going to usher in a new chapter of tourism in the state. Religious tourism will get a boost as the tourists will enjoy the rich spiritual heritage of Guwahati via this wonderful riverine circuit,” Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said at the event.
The project, executed via a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), is likely to be completed with an investment of ₹45 crore and will be completed within 12 months.
The ferry service is expected to reduce the overall travel time to less than two hours for completing one complete circuit.
SDCL and IWAI will jointly contribute 55% of the project cost while the remainder will be provided by ATDC.
The union minister for ports, shipping, waterways and AYUSH Sarbananda Sonowal said, “The development of riverine based tourism circuit is a huge shot in the arm for the tourism sector in Assam. Today, the inland waterways have exemplified how transformation can be achieved via transportation. From ODC and OWC cargo movement via Brahmaputra to the world’s longest river cruise Ganga Vilas, the huge potential of inland waterways is being unlocked.” (Source: HT)