india

Ferry service awaiting MEA nod: L-G

Proposal to revive Karaikal-Jaffna ferry service is being actively pursued by Indian, Sri Lankan govts.

Lt. Governor Tamilisai Soundararajan on Tuesday said that ferry service between Karaikal and Jaffna in Sri Lanka, was awaiting approval from the External Affairs Ministry.

Addressing mediapersons after flagging off ‘Samudra Naukayan’, an ocean expedition of the National Cadets Corps (NCC) group, headquarters, Puducherry, at the Thengaithittu harbour, Ms. Soundararajan said a ferry service had already existed, but was later stopped.

“Steps are being taken to resume the sea connectivity linking Karaikal with Jaffna. The Sri Lankan Minister and (Deputy) High Commissioner held talks in this regard. Once certain permissions are obtained from the External Affairs Ministry, the decks would be cleared to resume the service,” she said.

The proposal to revive the Karaikal-Jaffna ferry service, as a component of the Sagarmala Programme of the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways to promote coastal shipping, is being actively pursued by the Indian and Sri Lankan governments since 2011. The scheme envisages commencement of passenger shipping between Karaikal, Puducherry, and Kankesanthurai (KKS Port) Jaffna, Sri Lanka, under the provisions of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the two countries in 2011.

Noting that she was flagging off the NCC’s sea expedition just a day after participating in the inaugural session of World Space Week 2021, organised at Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh, the Lt. Governor said it was emblematic of how the country was taking on challenges in space and on sea.

For the participating cadets, the expedition, which coincides with the 75th anniversary celebrations of Indian Independence, would prepare them to face challenges. The sailing adventure could be a prelude for people travelling in boats /ships from Puducherry to Karaikal as tourism is developed, she added.

Citing the boat ride in Telangana, where she administrates as a Governor, that took pilgrims from Nagarjuna Sagar Dam to Srisailam and back, Ms. Soundararajan said similar initiatives should be conceived here to develop nautical tourism potential of Puducherry.

Declining to comment on the local bodies election since the matter was sub-judice, Ms. Soundararajan however said civic polls were an important exercise in the decentralisation of power and for fostering development at the grassroots level. She hoped that the elections were held from October 21.

On the health front, Ms. Soundararajan said all steps were being taken to prevent the spread of denguer, which had the potential to affect more children than COVID-19.

The government is also taking all preparations to face the northeast monsoon and to prevent the spread of diseases. She also sought the cooperation of the public in preventing mosquito-borne diseases by keeping household premises clean and clear of freshwater collection.

“It is very important that those who develop fever visit a hospital for evaluation,” she said.

Development of infrastructure is among the top priorities and already funds had been allocated under the Smart City Project, the Lt. Governor said.

Lt. Commander Ravishankar is leading the NCC voyage with 60 cadets, including 25 girls.

A Naval officer, two NCC officers, six naval training officers and 27 other officials are accompanying the team from Puducherry to Karaikal.

After passing through Cuddalore, Parangipettai and Tharangambadi, the team will reach Karaikal and return in the same direction to reach Thengaithittu on October 15. They will be covering 302 km in a span of 11 days.

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