In a first, the Goa government is planning to ply ‘water taxis’ in its inland waterways, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant told the Assembly on Wednesday.
While tabling the performance budget of the River Navigation department (RND) for the financial year 2019-2020, Mr. Sawant also said ferry boats operating on solar power would be introduced on different routes. “Water taxis will be introduced for Panaji to Old Goa route with the help of experts,” said the document.
Though details of the proposed service were not mentioned, the department said it was considering replacing three old ferry boats with new ones and procuring new and fast solar energy-operated hybrid ferry boats between Chorao and Panaji or Aldona and Panaji, both in North Goa.
The department also plans to upgrade existing ferry ramps and jetties and provide better facilities on all the ferry routes. The RND has a fleet of 34 ferry boats which cater to different inland routes, connecting islands to the mainstream areas.
The House was informed that a consultant has completed a techno-feasibility study of these facilities and actual construction (of jetties) will start later this year.
The performance budget document states that during the previous financial year, more stress was laid on improving the existing ferry services.
The Central government’s Sagarmala project has also funded reconstruction of nine jetties in Goa, the document said.
A flagship programme of the Ministry of Shipping, the Sagarmala project aims to promote port-led development by exploiting India’s 7,500 km long coastline, 14,500 km of potentially navigable waterways and its strategic location on international maritime trade routes.