Catamarans To Sail On Bhitarkanika Waters Again; Odisha Signs Pact With Heritage River Journeys

Bhubaneswar: Four catamaran luxury boats at Bhitarkanika will soon be back in the waters of the national park. The Department of Tourism has signed an agreement with Heritage River Journeys Private Limited to refurbish and operate the catamarans as luxury overnight cruise boats in Bhitarkanika.

The Forest Department had handed over the Catamaran boats to Tourism Department in July this year.

The eco-friendly vessels were bought by the Forest Department from Goa in 2014 for around Rs 4 crore under Integrated Coastal Zone Management Project (ICZMP). But, it could not manage the services in the absence of trained crew members and outsourced it to Kerala-based Samudra Shipyards Private Limited which operated the services till 2018.

Later, the State government handed over the vessels over to Tourism department which invited tenders to manage the four luxury boats in Bhitarkanika. Heritage River Journeys Private Limited won the bid following which the Tourism Department signed an agreement with the company on Saturday.

The services are likely to begin soon and once again the catamarans will ferry tourists. Earlier, the tourists were given rides between Gupti and Dangamala in Bhitarkanika National Park.

Heritage River Journeys Pvt Ltd is known for its river cruise projects like the River Ganges in Kolkata and Brahmaputra among others.

Each catamaran has the capacity to carry 20 tourists. The vessels have been built to ensure safety of their occupants during tour of the mangrove forest in the park which is home to around 1,800 saltwater crocodiles.

Comfort in crocodile domain

Each boat has two bedrooms, balconies with comfortable seating, bathrooms, dining halls and kitchens. It is like a floating hotel for tourists wishing to get acquainted with the memorable sights of Bhitarkanika. The boat has solar lamps and fans with twin bedrooms, attached toilets and a galley.

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