Cruise to Dhaka via Sunderbans sets out for its first journey
Kolkata: The first cruise between Kolkata-Dhaka became a reality on Friday after it was flagged off from a city dock.
The vessel RV Bengal Ganga from Exotic Heritage group sailed off on Friday morning for a 10-day trip with 19 passengers to Dhaka, vice-president of Exotic Heritage group Vinit Arora said.
The cruise will follow the 1530 km protocol route between India and Bangladesh. A standard operating procedure (SOP), for movement of passenger and cruise vessels on Inland Waterways coastal shipping route is already in place.
Protocol routes are defined maritime navigational routes agreed upon by two countries through bilateral treaties. Currently, waterway is used between Bangladesh and India for carrying goods. The cruise will go via Hooghly, Padma and Brahmaputra rivers. The cruise is expected to cross the international border on the third day or March 31 after customs and immigration formalities from India's Hemnagar, the riverine international border on the India side of the Sundarbans.
The cruise will cover Mongla port, Barisal, Chandpur, which is famous for its Ilish (Hilsa) fish, before it enters Dhaka. Two operators from each countries have shown interest on plying cruise. Based on response, details of cost and schedule will be worked out, Arora said.
The passengers of this trip are mostly tour operators and some guests.
Vikram Doraiswami, joint secretary in the External Affairs Ministry, had said the move was aimed to strengthen inland waterway routes between the two countries.