Tamil Nadu to seek Centre help for relaunching ferry service between Rameswaram, Sri Lanka
The Tamil Nadu government will submit a memorandum to the Union Shipping Ministry, seeking development of infrastructure at Rameswaram to launch ferry service from Rameswaram to Sri Lanka again under
CHENNAI: The Tamil Nadu government will submit a memorandum to the Union Shipping Ministry, seeking development of infrastructure at Rameswaram to launch ferry service from Rameswaram to Sri Lanka again under the Sagarmala funding. It will also be seeking improvement of the existing Pamban canal, which links the Palk Bay and Gulf of Mannar, to ensure east-west connectivity for medium-sized vessels.
The State government will submit the memorandum to Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari during his interaction with Chief Minister Edapaddi Palaniswami in the city on Thursday.
It is learnt that the government is looking at a fresh site at Rameswaram for open sea jetty along with a passenger ferry facility.
Initially, the ferry service was operated from Dhanushkodi to Thalaimannar for a distance of 30 nautical miles. The usual travel time would be 150 minutes. After the cyclone destroyed the infrastructure at Dhanushkodi in 1964, the entire facility was operated from Rameswaram. This facility had been in use till 1984 when the Union government suspended the operation on account of ethnic disturbances in Sri Lanka. Presently, there is no port-related infrastructure to handle cruise vessels or passenger ferries.
It is learnt that the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, has prepared a preliminary report for operationalisation of ferry service between India and Sri Lanka from Mukkundaraya Chatram near Rameswaram to Thalaimannar.
It is estimated that the creation of infrastructure including sea jetty, baggage godown, passenger transit shed, offices for customs, immigration, port health and revenue will cost the exchequer `100 crore.
Sources claim that the development of infrastructure will promote not only domestic tourism but also international ferry service.
Interestingly, the actual financial assistance from the Union Ministry of Shipping under Sagarmala scheme is only 50 pc of the total project cost. But, the State has high hopes in view of the fact that innovative projects having national importance could be considered for 100 per cent funding.
The Tamil Nadu government is also planning to improve the existing Pamban Canal by carrying out capital dredging up to 10 metres to provide east-west connectivity for medium- sized vessels which are backbone for cargo movement.
The existing depth of the canal is only two metres and the old railway bridge having a Scherzner opening span (35 meters wide) was constructed 100 years ago. The span is operated manually and is opened only once by the Southern Railway. Now the government is planning to carry out dredging upto 10 metres and lay buoys in the canal. It also aims to change the opening span of rail bridge with a mechanised and automatic system at a cost of `350 crore.
The existing depth of the canal is only two metres and the old railway bridge having a Scherzner opening span was constructed 100 years ago