New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday inaugurated the Ro-pax ferry services between Surat and Saurashtra region in Gujarat, and announced that the Shipping Ministry will be named Ministry of Port, Shipping and Waterways to reflect the revamp underway.
"With this service, you will save on time and expenses. Apart from this, traffic will be reduced by road, which will help reduce pollution. In a year, about 80,000 vehicles and about 30,000 trucks will be able to take advantage of this new service. This will also save petrol and diesel," Modi said while inaugurating the service through videoconference.
Modi said the ferry connectivity of Saurashtra with a big business centre in Gujarat will change the life of that region. "Now the farmers and livestock farmers of Saurashtra will have more ease in bringing vegetables, fruits and milk to Surat," he pointed out.
The Prime Minister claimed that maritime business-related infrastructure and capacity building in Gujarat is in full swing. He cited the examples of Gujarat Maritime Cluster, Gujarat Maritime University, CNG Terminal at Bhavnagar and many such facilities coming up in Gujarat.
He stressed that the capacity of ports on the maritime borders of the country was also in the process of increasing. New ports are getting built at a rapid pace in an effort to maximise the use of India's 21,000-km long waterways.
The ferry service will work as a gateway to south Gujarat and Saurashtra region. It will reduce the distance between the two places from 370 km to just 90 km.
The cargo travel time will reduce from 10 to 12 hours to about 4 hours, leading to huge saving of around 9,000 litres per day in fuel and also lower maintenance costs of vehicles drastically.
The Prime Minister concluded his speech by stressing on 'vocal for local', urging people to buy local products in festival season. He said that this Diwali can be a 'turning point' for 'vocal for local' initiative.
"The country is going to celebrate 75 years of Independence. By then, the mantra of 'vocal for local' should become our, our family's mantra; it should be our strength. Therefore, this Diwali should become the turning point for 'vocal for local'," Modi said.