• Wed. Feb 28th, 2024

India has flagged its first international cruise vessel from Chennai to Sri Lanka

India has flagged its first international cruise vessel from Chennai to Sri Lanka

Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal flagged off India’s first international cruise ship on Monday.

Chennai:

About 750 passengers embarked on a five-day cruise from Chennai to Sri Lanka after Union Shipping Minister Sarbananda Sonowal flagged off India’s first international cruise ship on Monday. MV Empress Cruise, with a capacity of 3,000 passengers, was flagged off from the Chennai port which will connect three Sri Lankan ports—Trikanmale, Hambantota and Jaffna.

“We aim to make Chennai a hub for cruise tourism,” the minister told NDTV.

In addition to several attractions, the ship offers casino games, by playing which passengers can win or lose money. Although the game is illegal in India, operators say it will only be played in international waters.

Justifying this, Sarvanamada Sonowal said, “Casinos are needed for a modern outlook and for the growth of cruiseliners”. Last year, when the same ship offered a Chennai – Puducherry – Visakhapatnam cruise, the Puducherry government denied entry to the ship, objecting to the casino among others.

Primarily seen as a cargo port, Chennai Port is in desperate need of modern cruise passenger facilities, immigration and baggage claim infrastructure.

“We will build the facilities at Chennai port. People should have good landing facilities. They need to feel at home,” the minister told NDTV.

The Shipping Minister confirmed the development of Tuticorin Port as a cruise hub with the potential to offer attractive cruise circuits.

The minister was unopposed to the Tamil Nadu government’s demand to revive the Sethusamudram canal project connecting India’s east and west coasts without bypassing Sri Lanka. He said, the matter is under trial. Based on the existence of the widened Ram Setu, the ambitious project was shelved, the Union Science and Technology Minister recently told Parliament that using space technology “pieces and islands and some sort of limestone shoals” were found but “cannot properly be said to be remnants of some parts of the bridge.” “

He also dismissed criticism in the state that the Tamil Nadu campaign is the BJP’s way of reaching voters ahead of the 2024 Lok Sabha elections. The minister said, “BJP takes the development of all states equally”.

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