Ports are the gateway to development: Modi at ferry launch

Our Bureau Ahmedabad | Updated on January 08, 2018

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurating the Phase-I (Passenger Movement) of RoRo ferry service between Ghogha and Dahej.   -  PTI

Inaugurates the first phase of RoRo ferry services between Ghogha and Dahej

Prime Minister Narendra Modi today inaugurated the first phase of his 'dream project', the 31-km Ro-Ro ferry service connecting Saurashtra region with South Gujarat across Gulf of Khambhat in Arabian Sea.

Defining 'Vikas' (development), Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday stated that ports are the gateways to development in the country and the past governments have failed to recognise the importance of ports and water ways in the country. The history of human civilization, Modi said, illustrated the vitality of rivers and maritime trade in India but was not given due attention by previous governments.

Addressing a large gathering of villagers, fishermen and leaders from Bhavnagar district during the launch, Modi said, “The previous governments had created structural hurdles in the policy to develop such a project. We came to power in Gujarat and changed the policies to encourage private investments in the ferry services. We will soon see large number of private ferry operators plying their ferries between Saurashtra and South Gujarat."

According to Modi, development of such ambitious projects were not progressed under previous governments because of their wrong approach of leaving everything on the private sector. “Our government decided to build the terminals and provide suitable infrastructure to private operators. It is the State's role to provide basic infrastructure for development,” Modi said adding, “I have been hearing about this project since my childhood. No previous governments could do it. All such development works are destined to be inaugurated by me.”

The service - hanging fire since 1995 was first conceived in early 1960s. It was in January 2012, Modi, as then Gujarat chief minister laid the foundation stone for the project - which was estimated at Rs 296 crore then.

“This project is a gift to the nation. It is a landmark project in the entire South-East Asian region because it is the first of its kind service. It will reduce the fuel consumption to a great extent and will reduce the traffic congestion on the important national highways," he said before embarking on the ferry to take the first ride of the service marking the symbolic launch.

Modi also stated that once successful, similar ferry services will be carried out to connect other coastal towns of Hazira in Surat, Pipavav, Jafrabad, Daman & Diu besides connecting with Mumbai.

Developed by Gujarat Maritime Board, the ferry service project, will cut down the distance between the two highly-industrialised regions from 360 kilometers through road to merely 31 kilometers via sea route. The travel time will accordingly reduce from 8 hours to 1 hour.

The state of the art vessel will have the capacity to carry about 70 trucks, 100 four-wheeler and about 500 passengers.

Due to its peculiar geographical configuration, the Gulf of Cambay has advantage for the operation of Ro-Ro ferry service. The Dahej terminal is on the northern shore of the Narmada estuary some 6 km from the town of Dahej. Gogha is located about 20 km to the South of Bhavnagar. Gogha is on the western coast of the Gulf of Cambay almost opposite to Dahej. The terminal site is just to the south of the town of Gogha.

Published on October 22, 2017

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