Honorable Union Minister Shri Nitin Gadkari inaugurates Drishti Marine’s Inland Ferry Services in Goa

Vasco: Mormugao Port Trust and Drishti Marine’s ambitious inland ferry services was inaugurated earlier today by Shri. Nitin Gadkari, Hon. Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Shipping and Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation in the port city of Vasco in Goa. The inaugural plaque was unveiled at the newly constructed Airport Ferry Terminal (AFT) at Baina beach in the distinguished presence of state ministers.

The ferry service is aimed at adding yet another layer of quality experience to tourists visiting the coastal state, as well as locals, looking to travel to their respective destinations from the airport or to the airport from different parts of Goa.

Present at the inaugural were Shri Vinay Tendulkar, MP; Shri Narendra Sawaikar, MP; Shri Francis D’souza, Minister for Urban Development; Shri Mauvin Godinho, Minister for Ports, Housing and Rural Development; Smt Alina Saldanha, MLA; Shri Milind Naik, MLA; Shri Nilesh Cabral, MLA; Shri I. Jeyakumar, IRTS, Chairman of MPT; Mr.Rajiv Somani, Chairman, Drishti Marine: Mr Ankit Somani, MD, Drishti Marine and Mr. Ravi Shankar, CEO Drishti Marine

Hon. Chief Minister Shri Manohar Parrikar who is away on medical treatment sends his best wishes to MPT and Drishti Marine on the inaugural.

Drishti Marine operates passenger ferry operations on behalf of the Mormugao Port Trust (MPT). Drishti Marineundertook this project and constructed the modern, fully dismantleableand environmental friendlyfloating jetty and terminal at Baina Beach.The jetty and AFT is located 5 km from the Goa airport in Dabolim.

Drishti Marine, plans to connect all major tourist destinations and beaches in Goa with similar state of the art jetties thereby unlocking the potential of tourists, boat owners and commuters to move between any two destinations in Goa using the inland water ways.

Said Shri. Nitin Gadkari at the inaugural ceremony, “”Our country has a 7,500 km long coastline, which can help the development of our country, while also giving tourism a boost. You have seen that the coastline has been a boon to Goa’s tourism and the biggest advantage of tourism is that 49 per cent of the capital investment is utilised for job creation. I am a minister for national highways and if one wants to travel by road, the cost is Rs. 1.5 (per km), by railways the cost is Re. 1 (per km) and by water the cost is 20 paise (per km).

He added, “The biggest need in India is to cut the logistics cost. To cut down on logistics cost, we will have to push for water transportation. Therefore, developing the 7,500 km long coastline as a corridor for goods and passenger traffic, will be a boost to our economy.

“Waterways will reduce pollution. This waterway will help foreign and Indian tourists travel to their hotel by boats. As a result diesel consumption will reduce and people will enjoy another facet of tourism by travelling over water. This is a win-win situation. This can create new jobs,” the minister said, while also asking why all hotels cannot be linked to waterways by creating jetties everywhere.

“We should have an integrated approach towards development and environment. We have to protect the environment. Protecting environment is the highest priority. At the same time, we have to think about the poor people, for whom we need to create employment,” Gadkari said.

Said Shri I. Jeyakumar, IRTS, Chairman MPT, “Today this inaugural has become a reality with the active cooperation of the state government and we are delighted that the Hon. Union Minister Shri. Gadkari is here to inaugurate the inland ferry services. The first phase will see the opening of routes between Vasco and Panaji and will eventually extend to other areas. While the aim is to get the passenger to their end destination, it’s the journey which is a truly lovely experience. This is a new beginning for water transport in Goa”

Added Ravi Shankar, CEO, Drishti Marine, “We are inaugurating the inland ferry services today. Our idea is that other than road there are other ways to appreciate Goa, and that is through waterways. We hope that tourists and visitorslike both areas. Goa is known for its beaches and rivers, so our effort is that tourists and locals can travel from place to place via boat. Ferry services will shuttle between Vasco, Panaji, Old Goa. Phase Two we will start from the Airport Ferry Terminal to Baga, Siquerim, as well as Chapora Fort. At the same time we will be simultaneously starting in the south at Mobor beach and Palolem Beach.”

The picturesque inland ferry service is not only an addition of a premium service for tourists and local residents, but as envisioned by the state department also adds to the range of offerings in terms of ‘things to do’ in Goa for the hundreds and thousands of tourists who visit the state.

The new jetty will allow tourists and visitors to travel via waterways thus reducing congestion on the road and enhancing water transportation in the state.Free shuttle services will be available between the ferry terminal and the airport for the convenience of passengers arriving at the airport. The passenger ferries, Drishti Two and Drishti Three which are operational will enable passengers to hitch a ride between Vasco, Panaji, Old Goa and Sinquerim in comfort, amidst the breath-taking view of the coast. Additional routes will be operational in the months to come depending on weather and sea conditions.The crew on-board include trained lifeguards thatprovide world class safety standards.

Tickets for ferry services can now be booked online through an easy user-friendly process on www.drishtiferry.com. Tickets can also be purchased at the time of boarding at the ticketing counter at the Airport Ferry Terminal on Baina beach, Vasco.

As per the guidelines laid down by the CRZ, the newly constructed jetty has a 3 meters wide deck area with a length of about 150meters. It is a state of the art temporary jetty and terminal built as per the guidelines of GCZMA. It also has a docking area of 6meters.

The ferries depart and dock at an especially designated terminal in each of the jetty pick-up and drop-off points.