Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated the Ro-pax ferry services between Surat and Saurashtra region in Gujarat, and also announced that the Shipping Ministry will be named Ministry of Port, Shipping and Waterways.
“With this service, you will save on time and expenses. Apart from this, traffic will be reduced by road, which will help reduce pollution. In a year, about 80,000 vehicles and about 30,000 trucks will be able to take advantage of this new service. This will also save petrol and diesel,” PM Modi said while inaugurating the service through videoconference.
PM Modi said that the country’s coastline will be enriched by the drive to realise the dimensions of a new self-reliant India, with the Ro-Pax service as an excellent example of maritime development. Addressing the gathering at the inauguration, PM Modi said that Gujarat is becoming famous as a sea gateway in India. With the Ro-Pax service, the 10-hour journey between Surat and Saurashtra will take only 4 hours. The Adani group has also built a 200-passenger terminal for the service at a cost of Rs 30 crore, which includes ticket booking, security, canteen and other facilities.
PM Modi said that the advantage is for both “diamonds in Surat and the plough in Saurashtra”. With the launch of the new terminal at Hazira, the route between Ghogha and Hazira, which is 370 km, will be shortened to 90 km in the sea.
The PM added that there are vast opportunities for trade with neighbouring nations by sea. With India experiencing unprecedented growth in the Bay of Bengal and Indian Ocean too, the government has decided to speed up the pace of development along with saving the environment, the Prime Minister said. He stressed that the capacity of ports on the maritime borders of the country was also in the process of increasing. New ports are getting built at a rapid pace in an effort to maximise the use of India’s 21,000-km long waterways.
The PM also claimed that maritime business-related infrastructure and capacity building in Gujarat is in full swing. He cited the examples of Gujarat Maritime Cluster, Gujarat Maritime University, CNG Terminal at Bhavnagar and many such facilities coming up in Gujarat.
Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Minister Mansukh Mandvia were present at Hazira in Surat for the occasion. Expressing gratitude to the Centre and the Prime Minister, CM Rupani agreed that the launch of the Ro-Pax service would add to Gujarat’s coastline becoming a gateway to India. The Chief Minister also said that the service would protect the environment due to its short distance, which would use less fuel. He said that it will also make various new projects possible in Gujarat now.