An MoU was signed on Friday to connect seven religious sites around the city through waterways, officials said.
The project will facilitate ‘hop on hop off’ ferry service, which will connect the seven historic and religious sites of Kamakhya, Pandunath, Aswaklanta, Doul Govinda, Umananda, Chakreshwar and Auniati Satra around Guwahati, an official release said.
The agreement for development of riverine-based religious tourism circuit was inked by Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI), Sagarmala Development Corporation Limited (SDCL), Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) and the department of inland waterways transport (DIWT), Government of Assam, it said.
Speaking on the occasion, Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbananda Sonowal iterated the Centre’s resolve to develop the inland waterways potential of Assam and the entire North East for accelerated growth of the region.
“The development of the riverine based tourism circuit is a huge shot in the arm for the tourism sector in Assam. I am happy that with the support of the government of Assam, IWAI and SDCL will work in tandem with ATDC and IWT to execute this project swiftly and unveil a new chapter of the riverine tourism sector in Assam,” he said.
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who was present at the programme, said the initiative will usher a new chapter in the tourism of the state.
“Religious tourism will get a boost as tourists will enjoy the rich spiritual heritage of Guwahati via this wonderful riverine circuit,” he said.
The ferry service will start from Hanuman Ghat in Uzan Bazar area and is expected to reduce the overall travel time to less than two hours to complete one circuit. The project is likely to be completed within 12 months, the release said.
The Rs 45 crore project will be executed by a special purpose vehicle. SDCL and IWAI will jointly contribute 55 per cent of the project cost and the remaining will be borne by ATDC, it said.
DIWT has consented to the use of ghats near the temples free of cost for the project, the release added.