AFTER A delay of over four years, the roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) ferry service between Ghogha in Bhavnagar district and Dahej in Bharuch district is all set to begin next week when Prime Minister Narendra Modi will flag off the inaugural run of the service on October 22.
At the Gujarat Gaurav mahasammellan rally in Gandhinagar on Monday, Modi described the ferry service as his “dream project”. “The trial run of the service has been going on for the last two days. There will be more such trial runs before the Prime Minister flags off the inaugural run of the ferry service on October 22,” Ajay Bhadoo, CEO of Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) told The Indian Express on Monday. In Phase-I of the project, only a passenger ferry service will be available between Ghogha and Dahej.
As Gujarat Chief Minister, Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone of the project in January 2012, around 10 months before the last Assembly elections. The service was scheduled to begin within 18 months. But it missed several deadlines.
After visiting Ghogha in June this year, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani announced the ferry service will be launched by August 15. Last week, the Gujarat Information Department announced that Modi will dedicate the service to the nation on either October 17 or 18.
But it was delayed by a week as ferry operators wanted more time for trial runs before the PM took a ride. According to Bhadoo, the project cost now stands at Rs 614 crore, almost double the initial estimate, due to the delay. “We are expecting to complete the work in a couple of months. Once it is completed, we shall start the ferry services for vehicles also,” Bhadoo added.