The high-speed passenger ferry service between Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu and Kankesanthurai in the Northern Province of Sri Lanka is likely to commence in the first week of October, Minister for Public Works E.V. Velu said on Wednesday.
Speaking to media persons after inaugurating the dredging operations at the Nagapattinam port, Mr. Velu, who also handles the Minor Ports department, said Kankesanthurai is around 60 nautical miles away from the Nagapattinam port. The Shipping Corporation of India will supply a high-speed passenger ferry that can accommodate 150 passengers and the journey may take around two hours.
Since operating the ferry service involves the neighbouring island nation, the State government has been working closely with various departments of the Union government, such as Customs, External Affairs, Shipping, and Immigration. Construction of office complexes for each of these departments, Central Industrial Security Force, and passenger terminal at the port premises were in progress, he said.
Officials from the State government have been supervising the project work. The State government will step up efforts to complete the infrastructure at the port for operating the ferry service and seek the concurrence of the Union government, which will decide on the date of commencement of the service between the two countries, he said and added that it is likely to begin by the first week of October.
He expressed confidence that operating a ferry service between Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu and Kankesanthurai in Sri Lanka will improve the relations between the two countries.
The Minister added this will open up the scope for promoting tourism in Tamil Nadu. Nagapattinam will be beautified and equipped with world-class infrastructure facilities. The State government will take steps to feature the rich culture and heritage of Tamil Nadu in the town. Senior officials accompanied the Minister during the inspection.