‘Centre keen on Karaikal-Jaffna ferry service’

Union Minister presides over a review meeting; committee to draft a proposal

The Centre is keen to operate ferry services between Karaikal port in the Union Territory and Jaffna port in Sri Lanka as part of its efforts to promote tourism, said Union Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya.

He told reporters after chairing a review meeting here on Thursday that a committee headed by the Chief Secretary of the Union Territory and comprising the Secretaries to Port and Tourism would be constituted to prepare a blueprint for the project. “The Centre would take a decision once the proposal is submitted,” he said.

Mr. Mandaviya said the Centre would extend full support for the project, which would be implemented on a public private partnership (PPP) mode. Karaikal port would be the facilitator and both the Centre and Puducherry governments would extend their support.

The ferry services would primarily facilitate tourism. “It will help Sri Lankan Tamils and Buddhists in the island nation to visit Tamil Nadu and the Buddhist circuit in the country.”

Boost for tourism

Tourism Minister Malladi Krishna Rao said that initiative to operate ferry services between Karaikal port and Jaffna had been on for the last four years and the Puducherry government had been repeatedly persuading the Centre for its sanction. “Now a positive response has come from the Centre and the project wll go on stream without any financial burden on the territorial government,” he said.

Mr. Rao said the fare would be in the range of $90 to $100 and the project would facilitate tourism and development of Karaikal region. Social Welfare Minister M. Kandasamy, Chief Secretary Ashwani Kumar and Development Commissioner A. Anbarasu were present.

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