MV Ganga Vilas arrived at ZERO point on the Indo-Bangladesh border today morning at around 10:30 AM after which it sailed a further 32 km to reach Dhubri port at 04:00 PM today. The cruise vessel is being escorted by survey vessel SL Subansiri throughout its journey from the Zero point up to Pandu port.

The Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Sarbananda Sonowal termed the arrival of the Ganga Vilas cruise ship at Dhubri in Assam, India as a ‘watershed moment’ in the inland waterways transportation towards the transformation of Northeast India. The Minister congratulated the people of Assam and the Northeast on this historic moment that is set to unlock the 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 Northeast India. Our endeavor 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 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 realized 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 to re-energizing our rich interweb 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 Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, the historic cruise set sail from Varanasi on January 13, 2023, and, after traversing through the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Jharkhand, and West Bengal as well as Bangladesh, arriving at Dhubri in Assam on its 39 days of the voyage. Dubbed 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 traveling on this landmark voyage, were received by the Deputy Commissioner of Dhubri along with the 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, artifacts made of Terracotta, & Kuhila were widely displayed. A dance troupe also performed the traditional Koch Rajbongshi dance as the tourists enjoyed a relaxing evening with 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 artifacts 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 onward journey from Dhubri to Goalpara around noon tomorrow; i.e., February 18, 2023.

**PIB India**

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