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Saturday, July 13, 2024

PIB busts fake news by ANI and others about Ganga Vilas cruise being ‘stuck’

On Monday, several news reports went viral claiming that the inaugural run of the luxury cruise MV Ganga Vilas had got ‘stuck in shallow waters’ of the Ganga, near Chhapra in Bihar. The cruise, said to be the world’s longest river cruise, had been flagged off virtually by PM Modi on Friday.

Leading the cluster of reports on the cruise being ‘stuck’ was news agency ANI. Many mainstream media outlets picked up the story and ran it, no doubt because anything that can be used to run down a new initiative of the Modi government fills left-liberal journalists with excitement.

But the news has been comprehensively debunked as fake by the government’s Press Information Bureau (PIB).

“The Ganga Vilas reached Patna as per schedule. There is absolutely no truth in the news that the vessel is stuck in Chhapra. The vessel will continue its onwards journey as per schedule” : Sanjay Bandopadhyaya, Chairman, IWAI informed.

The government said the cruise vessel sailed as per its schedule anchoring at Ghazipur on 13 January, Buxar on 14 January, and Mauzampur (Arrah) on 15 January. “After stopping at Doriganj on 16 January the cruise vessel reached Patna on 16 January 2023 at 4.45 PM,” the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways said in a statement.

The false news reports had alleged the cruise got stuck due to water deficiency in the Ganga near the Doriganj area. It was claimed that the vessel was scheduled to dock at the shore for the tourists to visit Chirand, an archaeological site, but could not be taken to the shore due to shallow water and an SDRF team had to rescue the tourists through a small boat.

The government rejected this saying tourists were taken to the bank from the vessel using the tug boat to ensure their safety and privacy. “The draft of the waterway at Doriganj is 3.5 m much above the vessel draft requirement of 1.4 m. There is absolutely no truth in the news that the vessel is stuck at Chhapra,” the ministry statement said, adding that the anchoring place and mode of transport of tourists to the bank are decided by the cruise operator depending on the safety and privacy of its passengers.

Always ready to mock and deride anything good that might be happening the country under the present government, Opposition leaders like SP supremo Akhilesh Yadav also took a jibe over the cruise being ‘stuck’, tweeting sarcastically, “Now, do you understand the difference between a boat and a cruise? Now will you use an aircraft to give these tourists ‘Air Vilas’ experience?”.

Netizens were soon all over the SP leader’s accounts, educating him about the correct facts.

Akhilesh Yadav also claimed that he was ‘informed by someone’ that the ‘cruise has been running for 17 years’ and the Modi govt is falsely taking credit by adding some parts to it. He further alleged, based on hearsay, that the cruise has a bar.

Raj Singh, founder and CEO of Antara Luxury River Cruises, which is operating MV Ganga Vilas, has said non-vegetarian food and liquor will not be served on board. MV Ganga Vilas is the first-ever cruise vessel to be made in Bharat. It will cover 3,200 km across 27 river systems in five states in Bharat and Bangladesh in 51 days.

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