It has not even been a week into the cruise setting sail and the reports of the newly-launched MV Ganga Vilas cruise ship getting stuck in Bihar’s Chhapra due to shallow water hit the headlines yesterday. A claim that has been refuted by the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways.
The ministry sent out an official denial saying, “The cruise vessel sailed as per its schedule on NW-1 anchoring at Ghazipur on January 13, 2023, Buxar on January 14 and Mauzampur (Arrah) on January 15. After stopping at Doriganj on January 16, the cruise vessel reached Patna on January 16, 2023 at 4.45 PM. All through its journey the waterway levels were fully maintained and monitored for the required draft of navigation facilities.”
As per several claims, the cruise ship got stuck before docking near the Chirand Saran, in Doriganj Bazar which is one of the district’s most important archaeological sites. Stupanama fillings built on the Ghaghra river banks are associated with Hinduism, Buddhism and Muslim influences that also makes the place an ideal tourist attraction.
“There is absolutely no truth in the news that the vessel is stuck at Chhapra,” said the Ministry.
The rumour, it said, emerged from a ‘quote’ by a local official, who allegedly told the local media that it was difficult to bring the cruise to the shore, owing to the shallow water there. The official denied it saying he was ‘misquoted’ and there is no obstacle of any kind.
The cruise had set for 51 days journey on January 13 after being flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Uttar Pradesh’s Varanasi to Dibrugarh in Assam.
“As per the planned itinerary the tourist also visited destinations en-route, including Doriganj to see the ruins of the Fort. Tourists were taken to the bank from the vessel using the tug boat to ensure their safety and privacy. The draft waterway at Doriganj is 3.5 m much above the vessel draft requirement of 1.4 m,” the Ministry clarified.
Sanjay Bandopadhyaya, Chairman of IWAI (Inland Waterways Authority of India) also rejected the reports through a tweet and shared, “The Ganga Villas reached Patna as per schedule. There is absolutely no truth in the news that the vessel is stuck in Chhapra. The vessel will continue its onward journey as per schedule.”
Currently on its 5th day of journey, MV Ganga Vilas, a luxury river cruise vessel designed and curated by Antara Luxury River Cruises, will pass through 27 river systems in India and Bangladesh, sailing about 3,200 kilometres during its entire journey. The inaugural journey has 32 tourists from Switzerland signed up for the entire length of the 51-day cruising voyage.
The tourists will be taken to more than 50 popular locations, including world heritage sites, national parks, artisanal villages and cities and more.