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PM Narendra Modi Opens Ro-Ro Ferry Service, Says 'P for P' is Govt's New Mantra

The Rs 650-crore ‘Roll-on, Roll-Off’ service links Ghogha in Bhavnagar district of Saurashtra region and Dahej in Bharuch district across the Gulf of Khambhat in the Arabian Sea.

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Updated:October 22, 2017, 5:22 PM IST
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PM Narendra Modi Opens Ro-Ro Ferry Service, Says 'P for P' is Govt's New Mantra
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Bhavnagar district of Gujarat on Sunday. (Photo tweeted by @PMOIndia)
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Bhavnagar/Dahej: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated the first phase of a 31-km Ghogha-Dahej 'roll-on, roll-off' (Ro-Ro) ferry service, a first-of-its-kind in India, saying it was "a landmark project for entire South-East Asia".

The Rs 650-crore service links Ghogha in Bhavnagar district of Saurashtra region and Dahej in Bharuch district across the Gulf of Khambhat in the Arabian Sea.

Calling it his dream project, Modi said the ferry service was his "invaluable gift to India" and claimed that the even for South-East Asia this was the first project of its size.

The Prime Minister later travelled on the ferry to Dahej in company with many handicapped children whom he called his "special guests".

"This may be a project between Ghogha and Dahej but it is a landmark project not only for India but also for entire South East Asia. The ferry service is a first of sorts. It is a dream come true for people of Gujarat."

Addressing a gathering later in Dahej, PM Modi said the government’s new mantra is ‘P for P’ — Ports for Prosperity.

"Ports are the gateway to prosperity for the country. Understanding this, we have launched the Sagarmala project in which old ports are being upgraded," he said.

Highlighting the importance of waterways, Modi said goods can be transported through waterways at a cost of 20 paise per tonne, while it will take Re 1 through railways and Rs 1.5 by road.

"The earlier government had not given any importance to transportation by waterways. Before we (NDA government) came, there were six waterways. Now we have identified more than 100 waterways," the prime minister said.

"We have 21,000 km of waterways which includes 7,500 km of coastal waterways and 14,000 km of inland waterways through rivers. India is naturally blessed with it. But our earlier government did nothing about it," he said.

Modi also blasted previous Congress governments for "creating procedural factors that made it impossible for projects like Ro-Ro service to see the light of the day".

Modi said the earlier central governments wanted the Ro-Ro service provider to build terminals. "Tell me, do aircraft operators build airports or bus operators build roads? It is the government's job. So, we took up the job."

The Prime Minister claimed that earlier central governments tried to stall several development projects of Gujarat but after he took charge many issues challenging the growth of the state had been sorted out.

"When I was the Chief Minister of Gujarat, we faced hostility from the then central government. Several efforts were made to stall industries and the state's progress. Over the last three years we have changed that."

The ferry service had been getting delayed for various technical and financial issues since 1995 and was first thought of in early 1960s. The foundation stone for current works was laid by Narendra Modi as the Chief Minister in 2012.

The ferry can take up to 500 passengers. In subsequent phases, the ferries would also be able to transport cars and trucks across the Gulf.

The project would be a boon for over 25 lakh people from Saurashtra settled in diamond and textiles hub of Surat in south Gujarat.

The Prime Minister said plans were afoot to expand the ferry service to Hazira and the union territory Diu-Daman at a later stage and various places in Saurashtra. Modi said the services would also not be restricted to only one route.

"We are planning to link other places also through ferries. I am told that a pre-feasibility report for a similar project across Gulf of Kutch is ready."

Calling coastal areas as gateways to progress, he said that over the last three years, his government had been trying to develop coastal infrastructure.

"We seek to create over a crore employment opportunities."

After travelling to Dahej on the ferry, Modi flew to Vadodara to address a public rally and inaugurate more projects.

(With agency inputs)
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