West Bengal is set to promote the ‘Little Europe’ tourism circuit spanning sites of prominent trade settlements along the banks of the Hooghly river, an official said Wednesday.

It will be funded by World Bank and the union roads and waterways department at an estimated cost of Rs. 680 crore. "European traders such as the Portuguese, French, settled at various points along the stretch of Hooghly. The circuit will encompass as many as 12 rivers of Bengal," Principal Secretary (Tourism) A.R. Bardhan said.

In Bengal, the prime European trading settlements were at Bandel (Portuguese), Chinsurah (Dutch), Chandernagor (French), Sreerampore (Danish) and the English at Calcutta (now Kolkata). Mahananda, Ajoy, Jalangi, Damodar and Dwarka are some of the rivers identified by the state government along this route.

Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh is the starting point of the circuit which ends at Haldia in Bengal. Varanasi, Katwa, Gazipur and Sahebganj are some of the other points in the circuit.

According to sources, the state transport secretary recently had a discussion with World Bank representatives and the Centre.