With a view to exploring a new horizon of tourism, Bangladesh and India are set to launch a maiden cruise service tomorrow.
“The first ever cross border cruise ‘MV Modhumoti’ with 110 tourists on board will start at 7 pm tomorrow, although it has a capacity of 750 passengers,” Chairman of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Authority (BIWTC) Pronoy Kumar Kanti told reporters today.
The government is going to launch the cruise experimentally, he said, adding, “So we are allowing only 110 passengers on board with providing cabin facility”. Moreover, a total of 45 staff including crews and masters will be on board for providing services to the passengers, the chairman said.
“The journey will be cheerful and safe . . . it will take around six or seven days depending on weather condition,” said Pronoy Kumar Kanti.
In order to make the maiden cross border cruise service historical, an inaugural ceremony will be held at Pagla VIP Ghat Mary Anderson, Narayanganj.
Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal will inaugurate the event as the chief guest. State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury and State Minister of Civil Aviation and Tourism Md Mahbub Ali will present as special guest.
The two neighboring countries have taken the initiative to strengthen waterway connectivity on Dhaka-Kolkata-Dhaka route.
Bangladesh and India are going to start the waterway service for the tourists and cruise service under the agreement of Naval Protocol. On the same day, ship “Masers RV Bengal Ganga” will start from Kolkata towards Dhaka.
Modhumoti cruise is expected to reach Kolkata in the morning of April 1, roaming Barishal-Mongla-Sundarbans-Antyhara of Khulna and Holdia route of India.
Earlier, the shipping ministries of both countries finalized the Standard Operating Procedure (SoP) for movement of passenger and cruise vessels on the coastal and designated inland routes between the two neighboring countries.