As Sarbananda Sonowal is all set to be sworn-in as the first BJP chief minister of Assam tomorrow, preparations are afoot for his victory trip to his home constituency Majuli island in Brahmaputra river.
‘Monikanchan Nowka’ (boat of gold and jewels) a ferry boat designated to transport Sonowal over Brahmaputra to his constituency, is being readied for the VVIP by Inland Water Transport (IWT) department, official sources said.
The boat has been refurbished by fitting it with air conditioners and a VIP cabin along with an open terrace, said Chitrojen Payeng, the caretaker of ‘Manikanchan Nowka’.
The vessel, which belongs to the department of DRDA, will be able to carry two vehicles and have a top floor parlour for sightseeing by the VVIP, Payeng said.
The date when the new chief minister will visit Majuli has, however, not been fixed.
The island has the distinction of being Asia’s largest river island and is in Assam’s Jorhat district and is the centre of neo-Vaishnavite culture initiated by in the 15th-16th century by Srimanta Sankardeva – a towering figure in the cultural and religious history of the state.
Along with the ‘Manikanchan Nowka’ several other ferry boats from police, health, PWD, DRDA departments besides regular passenger ones have been spruced up at Nimatighat in Jorhat district to carry officials, security personnel, supporters and citizens along with him, they said.
Nimatighat, one of the busiest river ports in Asia is wearing a different look with modifications, renovations and fresh coats of paint.
The ferry platforms at various points in Nimatighat, the river port near Jorhat town from where one can cross Brahmaputra and reach Majuli by ferry boats, have been given a make over to look bright and colourful as the IWT specially is busy giving finishing touches there.
Majuli island at present is accessible only by ferries that carry vehicles as well as people from the nearest district headquarters town of Jorhat.
Union minister Nitin Gadkari had in February laid the foundation of a bridge over the Brahmaputra to connect Jorhat and Lakhimpur via Majuli.
Facing constant erosion by Brahmaputra, particularly during the annual floods, Majuli has shrunk to 352 sq km from its claimed orignal 1,250 sq km.