Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said the Ministry Of Shipping will be renamed to Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways to bring more “clarity” in the work it does.
He was speaking at the inauguration of the RoPax ferry service between Hazira in Surat and Ghogha in Bhavnagar district on Sunday.
Speaking at the event via video-conferencing, he credited his government for realising the potential of sea routes and resources in the country and emphasising on “vocal for local” as the mantra for celebrating Diwali with local products.
“This (RoPax ferry) is the diwali gift to the Gujarati people. The long-time dream of the people of Saurashtra and Surat has been fulfilled today, through this ferry service,” he said.
“Be it sea route or river route, India has no shortage of resources or expertise. It is also known that transportation by sea is far cheaper than by road or rail and does little damage to the environment… but work with a holistic approach in this direction was possible only after 2014,” he said.
“These rivers and the sea did not emerge after Modi became the prime minister… they were always there… but this vision was not there… that the country started experiencing after 2014…” said the PM.
The ferry service is slated to reduce the distance between Surat and Ghogha from 375 km to 90 km and reduce the travel time of 10-12 hours to four hours. “In a year, around 80,000 passenger vehicles and 20,000 trucks will take benefit of the new service… Farmers can easily ferry their products as well as cattle to Surat and south Gujarat. For businessmen from Surat, it will be easier to reach Saurashtra,” said Modi.
Modi added that to become ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ (Self-reliant India), it was important to boost the “blue economy” and strengthen sea-based logistics “because in our economy, the maximum burden of expenditure is on logistics. With water transport, cost of logistics can be substantially reduced…”