Day after launch, ferry to Sri Lanka gets just seven bookings, cancelled
On Saturday, HSC Cheriyapani was flagged off with 50 passengers onboard from the mini port in Nagapattinam.
NAGAPATTINAM: The 150-seater passenger ferry from Nagapattinam to Kangesanthurai in Sri Lanka recording only seven bookings just a day after the service was flagged off led to its cancellation on Sunday. While reasons from the need for better ticket booking platforms to travel visa issues were cited for the poor patronage, the operator announced that the service would now be available only on alternate days till October 20.
On Saturday, HSC Cheriyapani was flagged off with 50 passengers onboard from the mini port in Nagapattinam. Union Ministers Sarbananda Sonowal and S Jaishankar led the ceremony. The return service the same day from Kangesanthurai saw the passenger footfall at 30. Bookings for the service operated by the Shipping Corporation of India in collaboration with KPVS Private Limited, however, were down to seven on Sunday. The service was hence cancelled.
A source said, “Trips cannot be initiated with less number of passengers. Hence the daily service as earlier planned has been changed to alternate days to limit losses.” The service is currently scheduled for October 16, 18 and 20. Travel enthusiasts cite several reasons for the poor patronage. A passenger said, “Ticket booking could be made more professional through booking platforms. The ticket cost could also be less.”
A one-way ticket is priced at Rs 7,670.
State Minister for Mini Ports EV Velu also had during the flagging off ceremony urged Union Minister for Shipping and Ports Sarbananda Sonowal for a reduction in ticket price. Another passenger said, “The options to avail of travel visa are not completely passenger-friendly yet. It could be issued on arrival, during the trip, instead of having to apply through immigration offices.”
Captain M Anbarasan, state port officer, said, “We have advised the travel agency to ease visa processes such as issuing it onboard for better ticket bookings.” The ferry service would be suspended after October 20. The mini port in Nagapattinam is expected to witness several development works over the next two months following which the service is scheduled to resume in January 2024.