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MYTHICAL INDIA

Kolkata to use the Ganga to promote river tourism

The city of Kolkata in the state of West Bengal in India is all set to promote river tourism.

15 March, 2007

When the ambitious plan drawn up by the Kolkata Port Trust (KoPT) materialises, tourists will have the unique bliss of sailing the waterways that connect Kolkata – ‘the City of Joy’ – with many destinations along the famed, sacred river Ganga, which is called the Hooghly in Kolkata.

“We have decided to embark on river tourism and coastal tourism from Kolkata Port. In coastal tourism, several tourist destinations like the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Puri in Orissa, and the Sagar Islands of Sundarbans will be connected with Kolkata through the waterways,” A K Chanda, chairman of the Kolkata Port Trust, says.

KoPT also has plans to introduce luxury boats for tourists from Kolkata to West Bengal’s districts like Murshidabad, Malda and Nadia. All these three districts are rich in historical importance and have emerged as tourism hotspots for people coming from different parts of the world. These districts are also connected by the same national waterway – the Ganga.

Kolkata Port is the only port in India that is connected through river. All other ports in the country are seaports.

“We have started rejuvenating canals which are linked with the Ganga. KoPT has also allotted land to a private company, near the Millennium Park, to run a cruise service from Kolkata to the Sundarbans, a global heritage that has developed as a perfect place for eco-tourism,” explains A K Chanda.

Paramhansa, an air-conditioned vessel, is now ready to start its journey with 100 people on board.

The state government of West Bengal has set up a committee, headed by the chairman of the Kolkata Port Trust and with representatives from the tourism departments of West Bengal, Orissa and the Andamans as members, with a view to encouraging coastal tourism from Kolkata.

“We are looking for global partners to join in this venture. Talks are on with the Singapore-based Star Cruise and the Viking River Cruise of the United States. We want them to run vessels of international standard on the Ganga, connecting several important tourist destinations,” according to an official of the Kolkata Port Trust.

The Port Trust has already given permission to a private river transport company to operate their vessels from the Outram Ghat jetty in Kolkata for local sightseeing.
 

 

 
 

 

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