Ahmedabad: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will launch the 'Ropax' ferry service between Ghogha in Bhavnagar and Hazira in Surat November 8, which will reduce the 370-km road distance between the two places to 60-km by sea route, Union minister Mansukh Mandaviya said on Sunday. Modi will flag off the service, to carry both passengers and heavy vehicles between the two places located in Saurashtra and south Gujarat, through virtual mode at 11 am on November 8, Mandaviya told reporters.
The prime minister will flag off similar services in other parts of the country also, the Union Minister of State for Shipping said. "A terminal has been constructed at Hazira, and all preparations are completed. The service will begin on November 8, and booking of tickets will start from tomorrow," he said.
The Ropax ferry vehicle can transport up to 550 passengers, 30 trucks, seven smaller trucks, and 100 two- wheelers in one trip. It will be an all-weather service which will operate all 12 months irrespective of the weather conditions and high tide, Mandaviya said. "The coast of Saurashtra is full of potential. There are a number of cement, steel and ship breaking industries, with markets in south India. Through sea connectivity, distance and time can be saved, and such a service will play a big role in industrial development," he said.
This will be important to reduce road, railway congestion, reduce traffic accidents and control pollution," he added. "We have identified, mapped and studied the potential of destinations across the 7,500-km Indian sea coast and are going to start similar services on many destinations across the country," the Union minister said.
"On November 8, Modiji will also launch similar services in Kochi (in Kerala), one on the Brahmaputra river in Assam, and one joining the North East to Kolkata. A service connecting Karimganj in Assam over the Barak river to Bangladesh will also be launched," he said. The new Ropax service in Gujarat comes after a Ro-Ro (roll on-roll off) ferry service between Ghogha and Dahej in Bharuch district, launched by the PM in October 2017, was suspended last year due to siltation and unavailability of adequate draft to carry the vessel.
Mandaviya said the Ro-Ro service was affected due to siltation caused by flood in the Narmada river connecting the sea, and now only a small vessel requiring limited draft and carrying only passengers will operate between Ghogha and Dahej. "We cannot run Ro-Ro service between Dahej and Ghogha as there isn't adequate draft, and de-siltation is not financially feasible…we will run small vessels between Ghogha and Dahej that require limited draft," he said.
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