Passenger and cruise vessel services between Bangladesh and India are set to begin today, opening new horizons for cross-border tourism.
MV Madhumoti, a vessel of Bangladesh Inland Water Transport Corporation (BIWTC), is scheduled to set sail for Kolkata from Pagla Ghat in Narayanganj at 7:00pm, according to a shipping ministry press release.
The vessel is expected to reach Kolkata around noon on April 1 on sailing through Barishal, Mongla, the Sundarbans, Antihara of Khulna and Haldia of West Bengal.
The inauguration programme will be held at the VIP terminal at 5:00pm.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal will be present as chief guest while State Minister for Shipping Khalid Mahmud Chowdhury and State Minister for Civil Aviation and Tourism Mahbub Ali as special guests.
On the other hand, Indian cruise vessel RV Bengal Ganga will also set sail from Kolkata for Bangladesh today.
Bangladesh and India signed a memorandum of understanding on November 16, 2015 to operate passenger and cruise services on costal and predetermined routes. A standard operating procedure was signed on October 25, 2018.
A steamer-based water transport had been in service during the British rule, connecting East and West Bengal and northeastern India using the Assam-Goalanda-Narayanganj-Kolkata-Elahabad route.
The service came to a halt after the 1947 partition, according to Captain Showkat Sarder, a general manager (marine) of the BIWTC who studies routes of the subcontinent's steamer services.