Millennium Post

Get set for a trip from city to Sagar Islands via waterways

Kolkata: Your wait for a comfortable journey from Kolkata to Sagar Islands via waterways will soon end with a private shipping company ready to commence fast ferry service from Millennium Park jetty in Kolkata to Kachuberia. If everything goes as per plan, then the vessel manufactured in Malaysia will be reaching the city before the Christmas and will start operation in a few days.

The journey will take less than four hours which will be much lesser than the time taken to reach Kachuberia from Kolkata.

"We have already conducted trial of the vessel and other necessary exercises. We are awaiting the clearance from the state government. We are hopeful that by December end or the beginning of January the cruise will start its operation," said Captain Anjan Sinha, Chief Consultant (Marine) of Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI).

Sinha along with his friend Captain Nilesh Kalyanpur had formed a company Osprey Waterways (India) Llp, which is rolling out the vessel .

According to Sinha , the thought for starting a fast ferry service from Kolkata to Sagar had cropped up in his mind while he had visited the islands two years back as part of his job in IWAI. Kalyanpur his Mumbai based friend agreed to render all possible help to him to make his dream a reality and finally roped in a Malaysian company to manufacture the ferry.

The estimated project cost of the venture is around Rs 4 crore. "Sagar has already emerged as major tourist destination with the state government undertaking major development work there. Tourism in and around Sagar Islands and Sunderbans will receive a big boost with the onset of the cruise service," Sinha said.

The air-conditioned ferry has seating arrangements for 156 passengers similar to that in a Volvo Bus. One time journey from the city to Kachuberia will come at Rs 1,000 and the VIP seating will cost Rs 1400.

The vessel will leave Millennium Park jetty at 7 am and reach Kachuberia at 10.30 am. During return it will leave Kachuberia at 3 pm and will be reaching the city at around 7 pm. Passengers to Sunderbans can alight at the Namkhana jetty midway.

"I have seen that often critical patients need to be transported to city hospitals from Sagar Islands for treatment. I am ready to offer these patients free transportation in the vessel, " Sinha said.

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