Restored heritage paddle steamer at SMP Kolkata to be open to the public
Kolkata, August 26, 2022
The Syama Prasad Mookerjee Port, Kolkata (erstwhile Kolkata Port Trust) has restored a heritage paddle steamer of the British colonial era to be made available to the public for corporate and recreational purposes.
Built in 1944 at Dumbarton Shipyard in the UK, the vessel named "P S Bhopal" has a length of about 63m and a breadth of 9.2m. It was being used as a training vessel by SPM AT No. 22 KPD.
With the completion of the lease agreement with the Training Institute in 2019, SMP Kolkata wanted to refurbish this vessel which has a heritage value and open it to the public, SMP Chairman Vinit Kumar said. SMP Kolkata went for a long-term lease of the vessel which was in a dilapidated condition without its own propulsion.
Long term lease was selected through open tendering with the condition that the vessel will remain the property of SMP Kolkata throughout the lease period.
As per the lease condition, P S Bhopal will remain in the river moored adjacent to the shore or jetty and will be self-propelled. The craft will have an exhibition space, restaurant and space for small assembly.
Restoration work was on the verge of completion and few trials in the river have taken place to ensure the safety of operation with passengers on board, an official press release said.
SMP Kolkata was planning to inaugurate the refurbished vessel, the first of its kind in the Indian sub-continent at the beginning of next month, Vinit Kumar said.
Though the paddle is not operational now, the basic structure of the vessel has not been altered and new main engines with propulsion have been installed so that the vessel can move in the river with passengers on board.