In a bid to boost tourism in Uttar Pradesh, Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on Sunday inaugurated Alaknanda, a luxury tourist cruise at Khidkiya Ghat here, during his two-day visit to the town. The ride on this cruise will cost around Rs 750 per person, excluding the Goods and Service Tax. The double-storeyed cruise will give the tourists a tour of Varanasi with a capacity of holding 60 people on the lower deck and 30 people on the upper section. It will cover a distance of 10 kms from Assi Ghat to Rajghat. The lower deck is fully air-conditioned with a hall for parties and events. The cruise has bio-toilets so that the holy river is not polluted. Speaking on the same, one of the crew members said, “The cruise will initially originate from Assi Ghat to Rajghat in Varanasi, where it would be divided into three different sections. It will cover the sunrise in the morning, the famous ‘Ganga aarti’ in the evening, and in the meantime, it will hold corporate events, parties, etc.” The move has taken a few months ahead of Kumbh Mela which will be organised in Allahabad next year from January 15 to March 4. During this event, scores of Hindus from across the world will gather to bathe in the sacred Ganges. It is believed to be the world’s largest religious gathering.
After inaugurating the cruise, Adityanath addressed a public gathering in the town and elaborated on the developmental steps undertaken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led central government after coming to power in 2014. “After Modi ji became the Prime Minister, the government formed the policies keeping in mind the upliftment of not only the women but also country’s farmers, poor and the Dalits,” he said. He also added that under Prime Minister Modi regime, scores of remote villages got electrified and each family was provided funds for building a toilet under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. “This is not only the government’s responsibility but also yours to make your surrounding clean,” he said. In his concluding remark, Adityanath directed the local authorities to set up health check up camps across the region and provide villagers with all basic medical facility at the earliest.