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September 26, 2023

West Bengal: Eight decades old paddle steamer restored as heritage river cruise in Kolkata

A paddle steamer that was constructed by a British business eight decades ago began its tour as a heritage cruise on the Hooghly River after being renovated and updated.
Before the Durga Puja season, the Kolkata Port, now known as Syama Prasad Mookherjee Port, revealed the heritage ship “PS Bhopal,” the first of its kind in the Indian subcontinent (SMP).

“This vessel, which was in danger of dying, is now restored for the ensuing 25 years. The major goal is to give the ship to a private operator so that it can be properly maintained, which presented several difficulties, according to port chairman Vinit Kumar.

The restored steamer, which has a marine museum with artefacts from all around the country on its lower deck, was made available to the public from the Man-of-War jetty in the heart of Kolkata. Additionally, it includes an open area on the top deck and an AC hall made of Burma teak.

The only ancient paddle ship in the nation was restored for a cost of Rs 6 crore by a private partner, Eastern Navigation, led by Jaswant Singhee, who praised the port officials for their participation in the special project.

The ship’s fundamental design has not changed, with the exception of the installation of new primary propulsion engines that allow it to cruise on the river while carrying passengers and give them a sense of the ship’s construction in 1944.

During the British occupation of India, William Denny & Company built the ship in 1944 at Dumbarton Shipyard in Scotland for the India General Navigation and Railway Company. The Paddle Steamer is approximately 63 metres long and 9.2 metres wide.

The steamship “PS Bhopal” was a member of a flotilla that was acquired from the UK and used primarily on rivers in the undivided Bengal to tow cargo boats.

Before it was converted into a training ship, the paddle ship, which had two sizable paddles on either side and was propelled by steam engines, sailed on the Hooghly River for years.

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