Guwahati, Saturday, November 30, 2019
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Modi-Abe cruise: MEA officials inspect MV Rudra Singha
Rituraj Borthakur
 GUWAHATI, Nov 29 - During their annual summit being planned in Guwahati in mid-December, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will take a 45-minute cruise on the Brahmaputra, which is likely to be on a private house boat designed by local craftsmen in traditional style.

“Officials from the Union External Affairs Ministry inspected and conducted a trial on the MV Rudra Singha recently. The vessel is currently in Majuli,” a source told The Assam Tribune.

Inland Water Transport officials were tight-lipped on the matter even though they confirmed that only that vessel has been inspected. According to the sources, MV Rudra Singha will reach Guwahati on December 13, two days before the two PMs are scheduled to reach here.

MV Rudra Singha, an air-conditioned houseboat was launched for private river cruises in 2017. The 70 ft by 13 ft vessel is equipped with modern on-board waste-water treatment plant, safety equipment, including life jackets, life buoys and a fire-fighting system and an electric generator. The cabin is 121 sq. ft. and has double or twin occupancy.

Besides the MV Rudra Singha, there will be four other vessels on the waters during the cruise, according to the sources who are privy to the developments. One is a newly built private vessel – MV Ayodhya – which is now at Rajaduar near the city. It is bigger than the Rudra Singha.

The government will also deploy an IWT’s owned vessel – Ushabon – a well-maintained 30-metre long 75 people-capacity vessel built in 2003. This vessel too is air-conditioned and has all the modern amenities and had been used for VIP programmes in the past. Besides there will be another small vessel of Alfresco and the Jalpari which will be used for media personnel.

“According to the plan as of now, it will be a 45 minute cruise on the morning of December 16. The two PMs will be in the vessel for 1 hour. Fifteen additional minutes will be required for docking and other operative works,” the source added.

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