MV Nataraj makes its maiden sail from Millennium Park to Ariadaha. Picture by Pradip Sanyal
The state government will construct a jetty at Dakshineswar to help pilgrims visit the temple complex taking the river route.
The Rs 5.5-crore project would help create a vital link in the Ramakrishna-Sarada-Vivekananda circuit along the Hooghly connecting Belur Math, Kuthi Ghat in Baranagar and Dakshineswar through a ferry service.
A special allotment has been made for the jetty that will be constructed under the supervision of the West Bengal Transport Infrastructure Development Corporation.
“We have chalked out details of how to go about with the work keeping in mind the historic importance of Dakshineswar. Construction will begin soon,” Alapan Bandyopadhyay, the transport secretary and managing director of the infrastructure development corporation, said on Wednesday.
“Once the jetty becomes operational, passengers and pilgrims using the river route would find it easy to reach Dakshineswar from Calcutta and Howrah.”
During her recent visit to the headquarters of Ramakrishna Math and Mission in Belur, chief minister Mamata Banerjee had expressed her keenness to develop a circuit along the Hooghly connecting Dakshineswar, Belur and Bagbazar. The top brass of the transport department were asked to put together a plan to develop the Hooghly circuit. “We decided to launch a new vehicle for this circuit.”
The launch, MV Nataraj, was flagged off at Millennium Park during the day by the chief minister.
Officials said Nataraj would stop at Howrah, Bagbazar, Baranagar, Belur and Ariadaha. Once the Dakshineswar jetty is ready, the service will be extended till the temple.
“Only one launch will do the rounds now. More vessels will be introduced on the route after service becomes popular,” a transport official said.
“This is a daily service. The ticket price varies from Rs 5 to Rs 15,” the official said. “The service will start from Fairlie Place at 6.30am every day and ends at 8.30pm.”