CHENNAI: A goods ferry service between Sri Lanka’s northern port of Kankesanthurai and Puducherry in India will start anytime soon, Fisheries Minister Douglas Devananda said here on Tuesday, expressing hope that it would provide easy access to essential supplies amid an unprecedented economic crisis in the country.
“This will be an Indo-Lanka joint venture in private sector operation,” Devananda told. He expected the ferry service to commence anytime soon as the Defence Ministry has given its nod to it.
He hoped that the service would provide much relief to Sri Lanka with the availability of essential supplies amid the economic crisis. Sri Lanka is facing the worst economic crisis since Independence in 1948 which has led to an acute shortage of essential items like food, medicine, cooking gas and fuel across the country.
The nation of 22 million has amassed USD 51 billion in foreign debt, but has suspended repayment of nearly USD 7 billion due this year.
Sri Lankans continue to languish in long fuel and cooking gas queues as the government is unable to find dollars to fund imports.
So far, there have been an estimated twelve deaths in fuel queues due to exhaustion, physical ailments or accidents.
Indian credit lines for fuel and essentials have provided lifelines until the ongoing talks with the International Monetary Fund could lead to a possible bailout.
He hoped that the service would provide much relief to Sri Lanka with the availability of essential supplies amid the crisis