SURAT, Nov 2: After dumping the Ghogha – Dahej Ro-Ro ferry service due to siltation, the prime minister Narendra Modi is now due to flag off another sea-route to shorten the distance between the Saurashtra region and south Gujarat on November 8.
According to the union shipping minister Mansukh Mandaviya, Modi will inaugurate the “Ropax ferry service from Ghogha (Bhavnagar) to Hazira (Surat) and asserted that unlike Ro-Ro service, the Ropax would be all weather service to be operated round the year reducing the 370-kilometre long route by road to mere 60 kms.
Ropax Ferry is a ship in which 550 passengers, 30 trucks, seven smaller trucks, and 100 two- wheelers can transport in a single trip.
Mandaviya told the media Ropax service would help to transfer heavy vehicles and passengers from one place to another place. “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 added.
On the Ropax Service, he said, “It will be an all-weather service which will operate all 12 months irrespective of the weather conditions and high tide. 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.
“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.
Modi is also scheduled to launch similar Ropax services in Brahmaputra river in Assam, One in the North-east which will connect the North east to Kolkata and another one in Kochi, Kerala.
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.