With an impetus to boost religious tourism in Assam, especially in Guwahati, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed to establish waterway connections between seven religious sites in the city on Friday.
The project aims to introduce a convenient "hop on, hop off" ferry service linking the historic and religious sites of Kamakhya, Pandunath, Aswaklanta, Doul Govinda, Umananda, Chakreshwar, and Auniati Satra in Guwahati.
According to an official statement, the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), Sagarmala Development Corporation Limited (SDCL), Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC), and the Department of Inland Waterways Transport (DIWT), Assam, agreed to develop a riverine-based religious tourism circuit.
During the event, Union Minister for Ports, Shipping, and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal reiterated the government's commitment to tapping into the inland waterways potential of Assam and the entire North East region to accelerate growth.
He described the development of the riverine-based tourism circuit as a significant boost for the tourism sector in Assam. Sonowal expressed his satisfaction with the collaborative efforts of the government of Assam, IWAI, SDCL, ATDC, and DIWT in swiftly executing this project and unveiling a new chapter in Assam's riverine tourism sector.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, present at the programme, highlighted the initiative as a milestone in the state's tourism industry.
He emphasised that religious tourism would flourish as tourists could now explore the spiritual heritage of Guwahati through this remarkable riverine circuit.
The ferry service will commence from Hanuman Ghat in the Uzan Bazar area of Guwahati, significantly reducing the travel time to complete one circuit to less than two hours.
The project is expected to be completed within 12 months, with a budget of Rs 45 crore. SDCL, IWAI, and ATDC will each contribute 55% of the project's cost to a special-purpose vehicle, which will be in charge of carrying out the project.
The DIWT has agreed to provide the use of ghats near the temples free of charge for the project, as stated in the release.
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