A ferry service connecting India to Sri Lanka by mid-January says Minister.
Daily FT: The Government has decided to recommence the ferry service connecting India and Sri Lanka by mid-January boosting trade, tourism and cultural ties between the two countries.
A progress review meeting on the preparedness of the initiative to connect South India via Kankesanthurai, Trincomalee, and Colombo was chaired by Ports, Shipping, and Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva has said.
Ports, Shipping, and Aviation Ministry Secretary K.D.S. Ruwanchandra, Immigration and Emigration Department Controller General I.S.H.J. Ilukpitiya, officials representing Government organisations and passenger vessel owners attended the review meeting.
“The new ferry service will be commenced in mid-January between KKS and Pondicherry as the initial step. The Government of India has extended consent for the service,” the Minister revealed.
Pointing out that a large number of Indians are engaged in business activities in Jaffna Peninsula, Minister de Silva said with such engagement, the new service ferry is expected to generate a considerable amount of foreign exchange income.
He also said that it will be of immense convenience for Buddhist pilgrims to India.
During the discussion, ferry owners said that they plan to charge $ 60 per passenger for a one-way journey, adding that they can carry up to 100 kg of luggage. The vessels under the new service will carry around 300 to 400 passengers on a trip that will take about three and half hours between destinations.
They also informed the Minister that the existing facilities at the aforementioned ports should be improved further to maintain a higher level of service.
Minister de Silva directed the Ministry Secretary to take immediate action to develop infrastructure for Customs, Immigration and Emigration, as well as other facilities, at Kankesanthurai, Trincomalee, and Colombo ports in accordance with Government procurement procedures.
Sri Lanka and India enjoy strong bilateral and trade ties that have been further enhanced by an operational free trade agreement (FTA). India is also a development partner of Sri Lanka and is expected engaged in many business/investment projects in the country. The proposed ferry service between Sri Lanka and India would further enhance the existing bilateral, business and trade ties between the two countries. Indian businesses/investors could explore the growing opportunities in Sri Lanka and vice versa. The expanding economic opportunities in Sri Lanka could also present viable business/investment opportunities for Indian businesses/investors. The close proximity between the two countries also helps businesses of both countries to link up and explore further expansion in the region.
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