Call for resumption of T’kudi-Colombo ferry service
Sources at VOC Port Authority, Thoothukudi said, a ferry operator, had shown interest to sail from Thoothukudi to Colombo.
MADURAI: Many like-minded people wanted the resumption of Thoothukudi-Colombo passenger ferry service to boost relationships between India and Sri Lanka and establish trade links.
“Over a decade ago, the historic ferry ship named ‘Scotia Prince’ was launched in June 2011 at VOC Port, Thoothukudi. But for some reason the service was suspended after six months,” sources said.
Keeping fingers crossed, JP Joe Villavarayar, president, Tuticorin Hub Port Development Council, said once the ferry service, if revived, will provide a boost for business and tourism. Two months ago, a delegation from the Sri Lanka Ports Authority came by ship to Thoothukudi and studied the conditions here. Moreover, the Ram Setu canal dredging proposal near Pamban Bridge by the Centre is awaiting a nod.
Once the project proposal is approved, the sea route to Kankesanthurai and Jaffna in Sri Lanka would be shortest from Rameswaram and Thoothukudi coast, Villavarayar told DT Next on Sunday.
S Lassington Fernando, secretary, Tuticorin Coastal Mechanised Sail Vessel Owners Association, said the authorities must consider resuming the service, instead of opting for Nagapattinam-Kankesanthurai ferry service.
S Antony Michael Kishore, a shipping agent, during the sea voyage to Colombo by the nine-deck ‘Scotia Prince’ ferry ship, a passenger was allowed to carry a hundred kg baggage from Thoothukudi and vice-versa. Mostly, garments including ‘lungis’ were carried as baggage to Colombo, and on return products including soap, tea, and spice products were carried.
Sharing his sea travel experience, 80-year-old Bonaventure Roche, whose in-laws live in Colombo, from Thoothukudi, said round-trip ferry fare at Rs 5,000 on ‘Scotia Prince’Sources at VOC Port Authority, Thoothukudi said, a ferry operator, had shown interest to sail from Thoothukudi to Colombo. was cheaper than air travel from Chennai to Colombo, costing Rs 6,000 at that time.
Referring to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman saying in Adichanallur that ‘Ramayana Circuit’ in Sri Lanka attracts many tourists from India, Dr JS Rohan Savarimuthu, senior lecturer, Trincomalee Campus, Trincomalee, Sri Lanka said pilgrimage tourism is flourishing, referring to key spots including Seethala in Nuwara Eliya, Thirukoneswaram temple in Trincomalee and Ravana’s Palace in Sigiriya.
Sources at VOC Port Authority, Thoothukudi said, a ferry operator, had shown interest to sail from Thoothukudi to Colombo. While the Port Authority granted approval in principle, the operator is in talks with the Sri Lanka Ports Authority for their nod.
“Unlike, the previous ferry ship, which had a capacity of over a thousand seats, the new operator is likely to introduce a 300-seater capacity vessel,” sources said.