Prime Minister Narendra Modi will virtually inaugurate a Ropax Ferry Service between Ghogha in Bhavnagar of Saurashtra region and Hazira in Surat on November 8, said Union Minister of State for Shipping (independent charge), Chemical and Fertilisers, Mansukh Mandaviya, on Sunday.
Addressing a press conference here, Mandaviya added that the Ropax Ferry Service between Ghogha and Dahej in Bharuch district will be discontinued and a passenger-only service will remain functional on the route once a day. He added that the ropax ferry service will shorten the current distance of 370 km between Surat and Saurashtra to 60 km. The time of transport will also be decreased from 10-12 hours to 3-4 hours, he said.
The minister said that the ropax ferry service will have the capacity to carry 30 trucks, seven small trucks, 100 two-wheelers and 550 passengers. The service will do three round trips everyday and as per estimation, it will ferry 5 lakh passengers, 80,000 passenger vehicles, 50,000 two-wheelers and 30,000 trucks every year. The service will also decrease the consumption of fuel as well as road accidents. Mandaviya said the service will especially be helpful to those from Saurashtra settled in Surat for occupational purpose.
The coastline of Saurashtra is full of opportunities with the presence of various industries such as cement, steel, ship breaking, etc, and this service will bring the industry closer to its markets in South India, Mandaviya added. “The service will not only help public transport, but cargo transport as well,” he said.
Mandaviya also said that the Modi government is exploring various modes of transport in the country and seaplane service and Ropax ferry service were part of the same. He said that the union government is planning to start similar ferry services in Kochi, on Brahmaputra river in Assam and one joining North East with Kolkata. A similar service will also connect Karimganj of Assam to Bangladesh. All these services will be virtually launched by PM Modi on November 8.
Notably, the Ghogha-Dahej Ropax Ferry Service was launched in October 2017 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. However, shortly the service ran into trouble due to technical reasons related to dredging and especially due to lack of sufficient depth in the navigational channel and turning circle at Dahej.
Speaking on the closure of Ghogha-Dahej Ropax Ferry Service, Mandaviya said that massive floods in Narmada river a couple of years ago resulted in the river changing its course, due to which the ropax ferry route near Dahej was facing severe siltation and the cost of dredging was very high.
“So, we have decided to continue both Ghogha-Dahej service and Ghogha-Hazira service. On Ghogha-Dahej route, small ferry service (of only passengers) will be functional where less draft is required. On Ghogha-Hazira route, ropax service will be functional,” Mandaviya said.
Mandaviya also said that the problem faced by ropax service on Ghogha-Dahej route will not be faced by the similar service on Ghogha-Hazira route. It is because, Mandaviya said, an operating port is already available in Hazira and only one jetty is being taken on lease for the ropax ferry service. So, Mandaviya added, the ropax ferry will get its required draft at Hazira. The Ghogha-Dahej small ferry service will resume on November 8 and do one round trip daily, he said.
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