The government has decided to stop free travel on the ferry service managed by the Inland Waterways Department, announced Minister Sudhin Dhavlikar.
Speaking to media persons on Saturday morning, he said as the services were running into losses due to aged vessels that require regular maintenance, it has been decided to increase the revenue in order to purchase new ferries.
While the amount to be charged to passengers is not yet decided, two wheelers will be charged at the rate of Rs. 5 per trip while the fare for four-wheelers will be Rs. 20 which is double of what they pay at the moment.
Currently, two wheelers and passengers were using the service free. However, according to Mr. Dhavlikar, residents of islands like Chorao and Divar will be able to use the ferry service for free provided they furnish their proof of residence in the form of Voter Identity Card.
The Inland Waterways Department currently operates ferry services on 16 routes in Goa with the help of 28 ferry boats. The routes are: Rassaim – Durbhat, Cortalim – Madkai, Rachol – Shiroda, Assolna – Cavelossim, Ribandar – Divar, Ribandar – Chorao, Sao Pedro – Divar, Old Goa – Divar, Panaji – Betim, Marcel Tonca – Sarmanos, Volvoi – Surla, Chorao – Pomburpa, Calvim – Carona, Vanxem – Divar, Dauji – Tolto and Cumbarjua – Gaundale.
This announcement is bound to evoke a strong reaction from ferry users demanding that the government first provide proper facilities as most often ferries break down causing immense hardships to the users.