Guwahati, Friday, September 28, 2012
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Tourism dept moots river taxi service
STAFF REPORTER
 GUWAHATI, Sept 27 – Away from the roads chocked with traffic jams, the people of Assam would be able to cover long distances in minutes enjoying cool river breeze, if the plan of ambitious catamaran services, conceived by the State Tourism Department, becomes a reality.

With the capacity of 100 passengers at a time, these catamarans or river taxies would first be introduced on the river Brahmaputra in and around Guwahati.

Catamarans are boats with two hulls, known for their high speed.

On the occasion of World Tourism Day today, the State’s Tourism Minister Chandan Brahma announced a slew of schemes for tourism promotion in Assam, with a thrust on river tourism and infrastructure building.

“After Mahabahu, the five-star cruise liner, the State is soon going to have two more such luxury liners, which would provide even better river cruising experience to the tourists,” announced the minister.

The Mahabahu is slated to sail from November this year and much to the delight of the tourism promoters of Assam, the ship has been booked for the next two-and-a-half years, sources from the State Tourism Department said. The new luxury liners would cost around Rs 8 crore each. “The world class catamaran services would also be first of its kind in the entire country,” sources added.

Emphasizing the need to improve the accommodation facilities for the tourists, especially in the wildlife sanctuaries, Brahma said that an ambitious scheme worth Rs 50 crore has been taken up to develop mega tourist circuits in the State. The scheme includes developing the necessary infrastructure, including eco-lodges for the tourists. The tourist circuit would include Kokrajhar, Chirang, Barpeta, Baksa, Nalbari, Guwahati, Marigaon, Nagaon, Sonitpur and Tawang districts. Another scheme worth Rs 5 crore has been taken up to develop eco-tourism in Kaliabhomora and Champa areas.

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