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November 17, 2009

River tourism takes off in India: A 14-day trip on Ganga

     New Delhi: May be for the first time in India, a tourist cruise has started from Kolkata to Varanasi with 50 foreign tourists, the 14-day trip taking them to several places of historical and tourist interest. An Inland Waterways Authority of India initiative, the Pandaw cruise vessel has a capacity to carry 50 passengers and crew at a time. The vessel has all modern amenities like accommodation, a dining hall and relaxation area. Tourism Secretary Sujeet Banerjee said that a cruise on the Ganga was a dream project for him. "The cruise on Ganga was a dream project for me and we started working on it five years back to get the ship ready with the necessary approvals right from the inception. We had many challenges, but there was one thing that was constant, and that was full support and cooperation from the Inland Waterways Authority of India," said Banerjee. Maria, a tourist, thanked the Inland Waterways Authority of India for this wonderful opportunity. "It was a personal achievement, but without the help of Inland Waterways Authority of India, it would have been totally impossible," Maria said. Pandaw Cruises India has signed a memorandum with the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI). Since the cruise passes through three states, the company has also signed MoUs with the state governments to provide security onboard.
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