Srinagar: In a bid to revive river transport in the Kashmir valley, three bus boats have been brought from New Zealand to ply on the river Jhelum in Srinagar.
After decades, a river transport facility would be thrown open to tourists and the public.
People would be able to take this boat ride from the Lasjan area of Srinagar to the interior of downtown. Jammu and Kashmir LG had pushed for this initiative with the tourism department. The department says that it will be the cheapest mode of transport.
“This is the revival of water transport in Srinagar. It will start next month. We have procured all the equipment. I think it can be the optimal utilisation of water resources and it will be one of the main means of transport in future. It will be way cheaper than road transport. We have a fleet of three boats and in future, we will procure more. All the decks are ready,” said Imran Malik, Director of a private company.
Each boat has 35 seats with air conditioning and the whole cover is made of glass. It will let the passengers enjoy the view of Srinagar city and make it a memorable ride for them. The tourism department will promote it so that more and more people take this mode of transport while travelling in the city.
“The people of Kashmir will see this kind of boat for the first time. It has a capacity of 35 passengers including five crew members. The plan is that it will ply from Batawara to Veer Chattabal. This will have six stops. We are doing trial runs and then will open it for tourists. It's will complement the road transport. The roads are congested and if we get 5-6 of these in future this will help take the pressure off from road transport,” said Abdul Hanan, manager of the firm.
The engineers of the boat have come from Mumbai and will be training the locals in case there are any technical issues with the boat.
“I am training local engineers so that if there is an issue, they can handle it. I am also telling them how to run this boat. If there is any issue ever then we can even take care of the problem remotely,” said Bharat Gupta, Engineer.