A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed to develop a 'Riverine Based Religious Tourism Circuit' between Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), Sagarmala Development Corporation Limited (SDCL), Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) and Department of Inland Waterways Transport (DIWT), Government of Assam.
The primary objective of the MoU is to establish a modern ferry service, operating on a 'Hop-On Hop-Off' mode, to connect seven historically significant temples situated on the banks of the Brahmaputra.
These sites include Kamakhya, Pandunath, Ashwaklanta, Doul Govinda, Umananda, Chakreshwar, and Auniti Satra. Passengers will be able to enjoy a seamless travel experience with ferry services departing every 30 minutes, providing a convenient means of exploring these spiritual landmarks.
The circuit's route will commence from Hanuman Ghat, Uzan Bazar, which should reduce the overall travel time to under two hours for completing one full circuit.
The execution of this project will require an investment of Rs 45 crore and will be carried out through a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) as reported by PIB. It is expected to be completed within 12 months.
The funding for the project will be shared, with SDCL and IWAI jointly contributing 55 per cent of the costs, while ATDC will provide the remaining amount. Additionally, DIWT has offered the usage of Ghats near the temples, free of charge, to facilitate the initiative.
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The signing ceremony was in the presence of Assam's Chief Minister, Dhimanta Biswa Sarma, and the Union Minister of Ports, Shipping & Waterways and Ayush, Sarbananda Sonowal.
The project's successful implementation is poised to unlock the potential of riverine tourism and bolster the tourism sector in Assam.