Traders anticipate Karaikal-Jaffna ferry service

June 27, 2022 09:13 pm | Updated 09:13 pm IST - KARAIKAL

The nod given recently by Sri Lankan cabinet to the long-pending ferry service from Kankesanthurai in Jaffna to Karaikal in Puducherry has been received well by the trading community in the enclave of Puducherry Union Territory.

The implication of the takeover of the Karaikal Port by Adani Ports and SEZ on the early operation of the cruise service is being watched keenly by the travel and tourism industry players in Karaikal.

"There are huge expectations on cruise toursim between Karaikal and Jaffna since there would be a large number of visitors to the Thirunallar Saneeswarar Temple in Karaikal, and Velankanni and Nagore in Nagapattinam. The tourism sector in delta region, in general, will witness vibrancy," Vice-President of Karaikal Chamber of Commerce, Sivaganesh said.

There will also be a substantial number of visitors from Tamil Nadu to places of interest in and around Jaffna region, which would be buttressed by the cultural bond of linguistic similarities, according to a travel tourism operator in Karaikal enclave.

Last year, the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways had constituted a committee to firm up a comprehensive plan to start ferry service between Karaikal Port and Kankesanthurai Port.

The project was planned to be implemented on a private-public partnership (PPP) basis, where the operator would run the service with facilitation from Karaikal Port, supported by the Puducherry and Central governments.

During July 2021, Sri Lankan Deputy High Commissioner in Chennai, Doraisamy Venkateshwaran, visited Karaikal to discuss the early implementation of the ferry service.

Dredging work at the Kankesanthurai (KKS) Harbour in the Jaffna district was completed by the Dredging Corporation of India, a public sector undertaking of the Government of India. In 2018, India provided US $45.27 million for upgrading the harbour into a commercial port.

It has also given funds for dredging of the approach channel with a view to upgrading the arrangement for transport of cargo also at a later point of time. At present, Colombo is the only port of entry for Indian goods.

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