Sub-Continent's Oldest Paddle Steamer Ready to Sail in Hooghly Again

Last Updated: August 25, 2022, 18:39 IST

Sub-continent’s oldest paddle steamer set to sail in Hooghly (Photo: IANS)

PS Bhopal was built by the Dumbarton Shipyard in the UK in 1944 and sent to Kolkata (then Calcutta) as a ferry boat. It is now a prized possession of SMP

A 78-year-old paddle steamer — the only one in the Indian subcontinent — will soon start plying the Hooghly as a recreational vessel. PS (paddle steamer) Bhopal has been fitted with modern marine engines now and trials have been conducted to certify its fitness as a vessel to carry passengers. Vinit Kumar, Chairman, Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port (SMP), Kolkata, said that the vessel will be ready for operations by September.

PS Bhopal was built by the Dumbarton Shipyard in the UK in 1944 and sent to Kolkata (then Calcutta) as a ferry boat. It is now a prized possession of SMP. Moored at Berth 22 of the Kidderpore Docks (KPD), it was used as a training vessel till recently. After the lease with the training institution ended in 2019, SMP decided to use it to showcase the vast heritage of the Kolkata port. It was leased out to an operator through an open tendering process.

“This is a long-term lease. When we handed over PS Bhopal to the lessee, it was in a dilapidated condition and had no propulsion of its own. As per the terms of the lease, PS Bhopal will continue to remain the property of SMP.

“It will be moored along the riverbank or a jetty. The lessee has refurbished the vessel, keeping the basic structure, including the paddle, intact. PS Bhopal will have an exhibition area, a restaurant, and a small assembly area for guests,” said SMP spokesperson Sanjoy Mukherjee.

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Vinit Kumar plans to inaugurate the vessel sometime in the first week of September. “It will certainly give the guests a feeling of a paddle steamer ride dating back to 1944,” Kumar said.

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