Waterways authority denies media reports saying MV Ganga Vilas got stuck in Bihar
However, a block-level officer said that motor boats had to be deployed to bring the tourists ashore as water levels were not adequate for the cruise ship.
Hours after media reports said that the MV Ganga Vilas river cruise had got stuck in the Ganga in Bihar’s Chhapra district due to low water levels on Monday, the Inland Waterways Authority of India denied that this had happened.
The river cruise, said to be the world’s longest, had been flagged off by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 13 from Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh for its maiden trip to Dibrugarh in Assam.
On Monday afternoon, media reports said that the ship got stuck in Chhapra on the third day of its journey while on its way to Chirand, an archaeological site in the Saran district of Bihar.
A team from the State Disaster Response Force deployed motor boats to ferry the tourists ashore, The Hindu reported.
Saran Sadar Block Development Officer Anand Kumar Vibhuti said that the water level in the river Ganga was not adequate, but said that the tourists did not face any trouble. “...We quickly sent a motor boat to bring them to the archaeological site,” he told the newspaper.
Videos shared by social media users also showed motor boats and trawlers treading near the banks as the cruise remains anchored at a distance.
However, Chhapra Circle Officer Satendra Kumar claimed that the district administration had deployed State Disaster Response Force boats as a routine precautionary measure. “There is no obstacle of any kind,” he said, according to The Hindu.
Inland Waterways Authority of India Chairperson Sanjay Bandopadhyay also said that the river cruise did not get stuck in Chhapra and reached Patna at its scheduled time.
The Union ministry of ports, shipping and waterways said that the cruise operator – a private firm – decides on where to anchor the cruise ship and the manner in which tourists are transported to the banks depending on how to best ensure the safety and privacy of the passengers.
The MV Ganga Vilas began is slated to sail from Varanasi to Dibrugarh in 51 days. The journey will include visits to 50 tourist spots including world heritage sites, national parks and river banks, the Union government has said.