PM inaugurates India's first Ro-Ro service in Gujarat

PM inaugurates India's first Ro-Ro service in Gujarat

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated the first phase of his ‘dream project,’ the Rs 650-crore, 31-km ‘roll-on, roll-off’ (Ro-Ro) ferry service between Ghogha in Bhavnagar district of Saurashtra region and Dahej in Bharuch district of South Gujarat across the Gulf of Khambhat in the Arabian Sea.

“This may be a project between Ghogha and Dahej, but it is a landmark project in South East Asia. The ferry service is a first of its kind. It is a dream come true for people of Gujarat," Modi said after inaugurating the service via remote control.

The prime minister hit out at previous governments. saying they had made such structural changes that made it impossible for projects like Ro-Ro service to fructify. He said they insisted that the Ro-Ro service provider needs to build terminals. “Tell me, do aircraft operators build airports or bus operators build roads? It is the government’s job,” he said.  

He said earlier governments had tried to stall several development projects in Gujarat, but since he became prime minister, many issues challenging the growth of the state had been sorted out. "When I was the chief minister of Gujarat, we faced hostility from the then central government. Several efforts were made to stall industries and the state's progress. Over the last three years, we have changed that," the prime minister said.

The ferry service has been hanging fire for various technical and financial issues since 1995 and was first conceived in the early 1960s. The foundation stone for the current works was laid by Modi as the chief minister in 2012.

The ferry service would now reduce the travel distance between Saurashtra and South Gujarat from 360 km to 31 km, saving five hours in travel time and money for people frequently travelling between the two regions. The ferry can take up to 250 passengers. In subsequent phases, the ferries would be able to transport cars and trucks across the Gulf. The project would be a boon for over 25 lakh people from Saurashtra settled in diamond and textiles hub of Surat in South Gujarat.

The prime minister said plans were afoot to expand the ferry service to Hazira at a later stage. The ferry services would not be restricted to one route. “We are planning to link other places also through ferries. I am told that a pre-feasibility report for a similar project across Gulf of Kutch is ready,” he said.

Calling coastal areas as gateways to progress, the prime minister said over the last three years, his government was seeking to harness the opportunities by developing coastal infrastructure. “We seek to create a crore employment opportunities.”

Modi then boarded the ferry 'Island Jade' from Ghogha to travel via sea route to Dahej, which he would reach after an hour-and-a-half, before flying off to Vadodara, where he would address a public rally and inaugurate projects worth Rs 1,140 crore. The prime minister was accompanied by about 100 physically challenged children aboard the ferry to Dahej.

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