The central government and the state of Assam have recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the aim of promoting riverine tourism along the picturesque Brahmaputra River. This collaborative project will be implemented through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and is estimated to require an investment of approximately ₹45 crore ($6 million). It is expected to be completed within a span of 12 months.
The MoU for the development of the ‘Riverine Based Religious Tourism Circuit’ was signed by various key entities including the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), the Sagarmala Development Company Limited (SDCL), the Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC), and the Department of Inland Waterways Transport (DIWT) of the Assam government.
Under the terms of the MoU, a captivating “Riverine Based Religious Tourism Circuit” will be established, encompassing seven historic religious sites located near Guwahati. These significant sites include Kamakhya, Pandunath, Ashwalknata, Doul Govinda, Umananda, Chakreshwar, and Auniati Satra.
The agreement also entails the implementation of a modern ferry service operating on a “Hop On Hop Off” model, ensuring convenient access for tourists. Additionally, a state-of-the-art waiting lounge will be established at the ferry terminal, further enhancing the overall experience for passengers.
According to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways, the ferry circuit will commence from Hanuman Ghat, Uzan Bazar, resulting in a reduced travel time to complete one full circuit in less than 2 hours. SDCL and IWAI will jointly contribute 55% of the project cost, while ATDC will provide the remaining funding. As part of the agreement, DIWT has generously agreed to provide the usage of Ghats near the temples free of cost.
Sarbananda Sonowal, the Union Minister for Ports, Shipping, Waterways, and AYUSH, expressed his appreciation for the MoU, emphasizing the positive impact it will have on the tourism sector in Assam.
Addressing the significance of the occasion, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma stated, “Today’s signing ceremony is set to open a new chapter in the state’s tourism sector… Religious tourism will receive a significant boost as tourists can now enjoy the rich spiritual heritage of Guwahati through this splendid riverine circuit.”
With the signing of this MoU, the central government and Assam are taking a significant step towards developing and showcasing the cultural and religious treasures of the region, while also providing a unique and memorable experience for tourists exploring the enchanting Brahmaputra River.
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