- In order to decongest roads in Srinagar city and to revive the centuries old mode of water transport, Kashmir’s first bus boat started its trial run in the Jhelum River.
- The state-of-the-art bus boat has a seating capacity of 35 passengers and five crew members. The crew includes a driver and four rescuers.
- It operates from Pantha Chowk on Srinagar outskirts to Qamarwari downstream Jhelum.
- To revive river transport in the Kashmir Valley, Three bus boats have been brought from New Zealand to ply on river Jhelum in Srinagar.
- This is after decades that a river transport facility would be thrown open for tourists and the public as well.
In order to decongest roads in Srinagar city and to revive the centuries old mode of water transport, Kashmir’s first bus boat started its trial run in the
- People can take this boat ride from the Lasjan area of Srinagar to the interior of downtown.
- The Lieutenent Governor (LG) of Jammu and Kashmir has pushed for this initiative with the tourism department.
- It will be the cheapest mode of transport.
Structure of the bus boat
- Each boat has 35 seats with air conditioning. And the whole cover is made of glass.
- It has 5 crew members.
- The boast has air conditioning, music system and television.
- It’s a type of tourist attraction, it will be available to tourists and locals.
- The engineers of the boat have come from Mumbai and will be training the locals in case there are any technical issues with the bus boat.
- It will make the passengers enjoy the view of Srinagar city and make it a memorable ride. The tourism department will promote it so that more and more people take this mode of transport while travelling in the city.
- For centuries, the Jhelum river was the most active mode of transportation and would ferry fruits, grains and timber from one end of the Valley to another.
- In the first part of this century, it slowly got reduced to ceremonial processions by the Dogra rulers.
- In 1945, Jawaharlal Nehru, his daughter Indira Gandhi, Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan and Maulana Abul Kalam Azad also took part in a boat procession from Srinagar to Sopore in north Kashmir.
- Over the period of time, the river fronts have grown shabby, with dumping sites coming up around it.
- Besides the ‘Bus Boat’, a marine equipment supplier firm — Sukhnag Enterprises — has also commissioned a 10-12 seater luxury pontoon boat and a 14-seater rescue boat in the Jhelum river.
- the rescue boat had been procured from New Zealand-based company named Mac while the luxury pontoon boat has been shipped from the United States
- The introduction of luxury boat is part of the central government’s Swadesh Darshan scheme funded under the Prime Minister’s Development Programme (PMDP) aimed at integrated theme-based infrastructure development of tourist sites including river Jhelum in Kashmir.
Swadesh Darshan scheme
- Government of India, Ministry of Tourism (MoT) launched the Swadesh Darshan Scheme (Central Sector Scheme) in 2014-15.
- Objective: to develop theme-based tourist circuits in the country.
- These tourist circuits will be developed on the principles of high tourist value, competitiveness and sustainability in an integrated manner.
- 100% centrally funded for the project components undertaken for public funding.
- To leverage the voluntary funding available for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)initiatives of Central Public Sector Undertakings and corporate sector.
- Funding of individual project will vary from state to state and will be finalised on the basis of detailed project reports prepared by PMC (Programme Management Consultant).
- Under the scheme, the Ministry of Tourism is developing critical tourism infrastructure in a sustainable and inclusive manner.
- The provision of this critical infrastructure will catalyse the private sector investment in revenue-generating projects which in turn would lead to positive enhancement of overall experience of tourists.
- This would lead to increased footfall in the areas, growth of revenue and employment.
Which river is known as “Veetesta” is Sanskrit?