The first passenger cruise between Kolkata and Dhaka was flagged off on Friday by secretary of shipping, Gopal Krishna, at a low-keyed event at G R Jetty in Garden Reach. The media was kept out of bounds for election code of conduct. This is the first such cruise after Independence. The cruise vessel, RV Bengal, will reach Dhaka on April 7. From Narayangunj in Bangaldesh, another vessel — MV Madhumati — has also started its journey to Kolkata.
With 19 delegates and officials on board this historic trip, the cruise vessel will touch upon Haldia, the Sunderbans on either side of India-Bangladesh border, Mongla port, Barison, Chandpur, Narayangunj and Dhaka. The vessel will follow Indo-Bangla protocol route. This is the result of secretary-level talks last October between the two countries.
“It’s a dream come true for all of us across the border. We wanted this so desper-ately. This has opened a new vista for passenger transportation between the two countries. The tourists can see the Sunderbans, a Unesco World Heritage Site, in its unfragmented proportion, 60-dome mosque at Bagerhat and ancient capital of Bengal at Sonargaon near Narayangunj,” said Raj Singh, promoter of R V Bengal.
The trip holds huge possibility in tourism, riverine transportation, bilateral relations and people-to-people contact, said an official. The trip had many stumbling blocks and ministers and bureaucrats of both the countries had worked in tandem to remove these barriers to make this happen, said a source in the ministry of shipping.
Source: Times of India