PATNA: City’s lone floating restaurant on river Ganga has become a major tourist attraction. The 48-seater, air-conditioned restaurant, “”MV Ganga Vihar””, is operated by the state run Bihar State Tourism Development Corporation (BSTDC).
In a very short span of time, floating restaurant has become the third highest revenue generating unit of the BSTDC. “After aerial ropeway (Rajgir) and transport sector, floating restaurant has become the third highest revenue generating unit”, said an official.
The floating restaurant has earned around Rs 30 lakh, through sale of tickets in the financial year 2011-12. In the 2010-2011 it had earned Rs 26 lakh. In view of it increasing popularity, BSTDC has decided to organise special dinner programme on the vessel on each Sunday night soon. “We are working out details to launch special dinner on the vessel. We have received an overwhelming response dinner package on veseel during ‘chandani raat””, said manager BSTDC incharge floating restaurant Gajendra Singh.
After paying Rs 75 for a ticket, one can enjoy a 35-minute trip. The vessel sails upto collectorate ghat and then takes turn for its downstream journey up to Mahatma Gandhi Setu from where it returns.
Bihar CM Nitish Kumar had launched it on July 20, 2009. From next day (July 21) till July 31,2009, BSTDC had earned Rs 83,385 through sale of tickets.
“”We normally make an advance booking of Rs 10,000 for booking the vessel for two hours, Rs 15,000 for three hours and Rs 20,000 for four hours for nearly group of 70-80 people on the floating restaurant”, said an BSTDC official. For Patnaites, it has become a hit for birthday parties, family get together and engagements.
The normal timing is from 3 pm to 6 pm daily. In the case of bulk booking, the vessel makes two trips from 11 am to 2 pm and 6 to 10 pm daily. People prefer this vessel than hotels because it is cheaper, claim officials.
“”Booking an AC hall in any good city hotel for around 70 people for four hours would cost more. Recently, executives of a well-known private bank had made a bulk booking on the vessel to hold a party. There is also open space on the vessel which can also accommodate 30 more persons,”” said a senior executive of a private bank.
“”At present, we have a permanent catering system, we arrange food for those who make bulk booking during day and evening hours,”” said BSTDC manager Singh.
The Bihar CM had organised cabinet meeting on the floating restaurant in January 2010. Special Bihari delicacies were served to nearly 200 guests, including ministers, bureaucrats and media persons after the cabinet meeting.