Guwahati: Chief Minister Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday laid the foundation stone for the construction of the “Guwahati Gateway Ghat” (ferry terminal) at Fancy Bazar in Guwahati.

The ferry terminal will be built at a cost of a whopping Rs. 289 crore.

“There are such state-of-the-art terminals for sea transportation in the country but this project (Guwahati Gateway Ghat) will be the first-of-its-kind terminal to be commissioned on a river system. To be completed by L&T within 24 months, this would ensure safe transportation of passengers in Guwahati and nearby ghats during all seasons,” Sarma said.

“All modern amenities such as cafes, canteen, ramp, etc, to give the passengers a pleasant experience will be in place. We want to ensure that passengers and tourists here to have the same experience as passengers and tourists in countries such as Singapore and other foreign countries,” he added.

“We are also about to embark on the construction of small modular terminals at places such as Dhubri, Bahari, among others, which will go a long way in improving the river transport system between various districts of the state,” the Chief Minister said.

Flagging off the two steel-made catamaran ships as part of the government’s plan to dedicate 20 such ships (of which 8 have already been commissioned and providing services at various ghats of the state) to the people of the state aimed at overhauling the river transport system, the Chief Minister exuded confidence these ships, equipped with the latest technologies will be able to significantly reduce river accidents and mishaps, while at the same time connecting the various ghats of the state with one another.

“These (catamaran ships) are equipped with high-tech navigational gadgets and are designed so as to enable them to ply at the low draft. These ships, coupled with initiatives such as the (Guwahati) Gateway Terminal will be a huge boost to the tourism sector in the state. I am confident our river transport system will be a witness to more such revolutionary changes in days to come,” he said.

“It is a widely accepted fact now that modern transport system is a sine qua non for a robust tourism industry,” Sarma added.

The Chief Minister also revealed plans to launch a ropeway service from Khanapara to Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport.

“Preliminary survey and research for this (the ropeway project) has been done. If all goes well, we will soon go ahead with this project,” Sarma added.

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