SRINAGAR: Authorities in the Jammu and Kashmir government are set to launch a luxury bus-boat service on river Jhelum to revive water transport in Srinagar and attract more tourists. The trial run of the bus-boat was conducted successfully by a private company called Sukhnag Enterprises under the supervision of marine engineers on Thursday.
Director of Sukhnag, Imran Malik told this daily that the specially designed boat has been procured from a European country and fulfils all the security and safety criteria. “It has a carrying capacity of 35 seats — 30 passengers and five crew members.
Of crew members, one will be operator and four will be rescuers,” he said. Imran said all passengers boarding the bus-boat will be given life jackets and will have to wear it during the journey. “Life jackets will be available on every seat and after boarding, passengers will have to necessarily wear them.” The government has decided tht the route will be from Pantha- Chowk (south of Srinagar) to Veer Chattabal in downtown Srinagar.
The bus-boat will stop at seven points — Pantha Chowk, Rajbagh, Peerzo, Polo View, Amira Kadal, Khankahi Moula and Veer Chattabal. The luxury bus-boat is equipped with an air-conditioner and an LCD television. Imran said it will cover 16 kms in 40 minutes. According to him, roads are already congested and need maintenance. Water transport will help in easing the hardship commuters face.
Sukhnag will hand over the fleet of five boats including one bus-boat, two 20-seater taxi boats, one leisure boat and one rescue boat to the Tourism Department. The department will operate the boats to revive water transport in Srinagar. “The formal launch of the luxury boat-bus will be decided by the Tourism department,” Imran said. Operator and the marine engineers of the company would train government personnel. The seven-day training programme for government personnel will start from Saturday, officials informed.