Kashmir Valley, in particular – Srinagar is set to revive its river transport with three bus boats from New Zealand to ply on river Jhelum. It’s said to be the cheapest mode of transport. This initiative was pushed by the LG of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) with the tourism department.
The services can be available by locals and tourists alike to make travel easier and smooth as well as to get away from the noise of traffic on the roads. Imran Malik, director, Private Company, said this is the revival of water transport in Srinagar. “It will start from next month, we have procured all the equipment. I think it be the optimal utilization of water resources and it will be the means of transport in future,” Malik said. “We have a fleet of three boats and in future, they will procure more. All the decks are ready.”
The boat has 35 seats with air conditioning, and there is a whole glass cover. Passenger can enjoy the view of Srinagar and it will make a memorable ride. Moreover, the Kashmir tourism department will promote it so that people can make the most of this mode of transport.
Abdul Hanan, Manager, said this is the first of its kind boat, which the people of Kashmir will be seeing. “It is a bus boat which we have imported from New Zealand and it has the capacity of 35 passengers including 5 crew members. The plan is for it to ply from Batawara to Veer Chattabal. This will have six stops and we are doing trial runs,” he said. “We will hand it over to JK Tourism. It’s a type of tourist attraction, it will be available to tourists and locals. It’s an add-on to the road transport, the roads are congested and if we get 5-6 of these in the future it will help take pressure off the road transport.”
Local engineers are being trained to handle this bus boat. Bharat Gupta, an engineer, said if there is any issue ever, then they can take care of the problem remotely. The bus boats will definitely help boost Kashmir’s economy as well as it has took a hit in August 2019, when the central government did away with the state’s special status. And this was followed by the COVID-19 pandemic.