Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation on Tuesday inaugurated Mormugao Port Trust and Drishti Marine’s ambitious inland ferry services here.
The inaugural plaque was unveiled at the newly constructed Airport Ferry Terminal (AFT) at Baina beach in the distinguished presence of state ministers.
The ferry service is aimed at adding yet another layer of quality experience to tourists visiting the coastal state, as well as locals, looking to travel to their respective destinations from the airport or to the airport from different parts of Goa.
Present at the inaugural were Shri Vinay Tendulkar, MP; Narendra Sawaikar, MP; Francis D’souza, Minister for Urban Development; Mauvin Godinho, Minister for Panchayat, Alina Saldanha, MLA; Milind Naik, MLA; i Nilesh Cabral, MLA; I. Jeyakumar, IRTS, Chairman of MPT; Rajiv Somani, Chairman, Drishti Marine: Ankit Somani, MD, Drishti Marine and Ravi Shankar, CEO Drishti Marine
Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar who is away on medical treatment sends his best wishes to MPT and Drishti Marine on the inaugural.
Drishti Marine operates passenger ferry operations on behalf of the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT). Drishti Marine undertook this project and constructed the modern, fully dismantleable and environmental friendly floating jetty and terminal at Baina Beach. The jetty and AFT is located 5 km from the Goa airport in Dabolim.
Drishti Marine, plans to connect all major tourist destinations and beaches in Goa with similar state of the art jetties thereby unlocking the potential of tourists, boat owners and commuters to move between any two destinations in Goa using the inland water ways.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Gadkari said “Our country has a 7,500 km long coastline, which can help the development of our country, while also giving tourism a boost. You have seen that the coastline has been a boon to Goa’s tourism and the biggest advantage of tourism is that 49 per cent of the capital investment is utilised for job creation. I am a minister for national highways and if one wants to travel by road, the cost is Rs. 1.5 (per km), by railways the cost is Re. 1 (per km) and by water the cost is 20 paise (per km).”
“The biggest need in India is to cut the logistics cost. To cut down on logistics cost, we will have to push for water transportation. Therefore, developing the 7,500 km long coastline as a corridor for goods and passenger traffic, will be a boost to our economy,” he said.
“Waterways will reduce pollution. This waterway will help foreign and Indian tourists travel to their hotel by boats. As a result diesel consumption will reduce and people will enjoy another facet of tourism by travelling over water. This is a win-win situation. This can create new jobs,” the minister said, while also asking why all hotels cannot be linked to waterways by creating jetties everywhere.
“We should have an integrated approach towards development and environment. We have to protect the environment. Protecting environment is the highest priority. At the same time, we have to think about the poor people, for whom we need to create employment,” Gadkari said.
I. Jeyakumar, IRTS, Chairman MPT, said, “Today this inaugural has become a reality with the active cooperation of the state government and we are delighted that the Hon. Union Minister Shri. Gadkari is here to inaugurate the inland ferry services. The first phase will see the opening of routes between Vasco and Panaji and will eventually extend to other areas. While the aim is to get the passenger to their end destination, it’s the journey which is a truly lovely experience. This is a new beginning for water transport in Goa”
Ravi Shankar, CEO, Drishti Marine, said; “We are inaugurating the inland ferry services today. Our idea is that other than road there are other ways to appreciate Goa, and that is through waterways. We hope that tourists and visitors like both areas. Goa is known for its beaches and rivers, so our effort is that tourists and locals can travel from place to place via boat. Ferry services will shuttle between Vasco, Panaji, Old Goa. Phase Two we will start from the Airport Ferry Terminal to Baga, Siquerim, as well as Chapora Fort. At the same time we will be simultaneously starting in the south at Mobor beach and Palolem Beach.”
The picturesque inland ferry service is not only an addition of a premium service for tourists and local residents, but as envisioned by the state department also adds to the range of offerings in terms of ‘things to do’ in Goa for the hundreds and thousands of tourists who visit the state.