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Ferry service between India and Sri Lanka set to resume on next Monday

By: Staff Writer

May 06, Colombo (LNW): An age-old sea route between India and Sri Lanka has been rejuvenated with the resumption of a passenger ferry service from Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu to Kankesanthurai in Jaffna, Northern Sri Lanka next Monday.

The initiative is aimed at bolstering bilateral ties, boosting tourism, and increasing people-to-people relations. It is expected to benefit local traders on both shores.

The Indian High Commission in Colombo yesterday announced that the passenger ferry service between Nagapattinam in India and Kankesanthurai (KKS) in Jaffna, which was launched in October 2023 by the Shipping Corporation of India (SCI), will resume on 13 May tentatively.

Accordingly, the ferry service will be operated by a private operator, IndSri Ferry Services, selected by SCI in consultation with the Government of Sri Lanka (GoSL).

“In order to make the service affordable and attractive for passengers, the Government of India has decided to bear the cost towards applicable taxes and other relevant charges and operating cost at Nagapattinam port to the tune of over Rs. 25 million per month for a period of one year.

Similarly,Sri Lanka government  has reduced the deviation tax currently charged to passengers leaving Sri Lanka by passenger vessels and ships,” the statement issued by the High Commission read.

The Government of India has also extended grant assistance of $ 63.65 million to GoSL for the rehabilitation of the KKS Harbour, previously planned under a Line of Credit.

This is in keeping with India’s strong commitment to Sri Lanka’s economic recovery and its march towards progress and prosperity, along with and in close collaboration with India.

Strengthening maritime connectivity between India and Sri Lanka was a vital component of the vision document for economic partnership jointly adopted during the visit of the President of Sri Lanka to India in July 2023.

The resumption of the ferry service is an affirmation of the people-centric policies of the Government of India. In his remarks during the launch of the service in October 2023, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had highlighted that connectivity is not only about bringing two cities closer but bringing countries and its people closer.

He mentioned that the people of Sri Lanka will benefit from the India-Middle East-Europe Economic Corridor launched during the G20 summit in India in September 2023, as multimodal connectivity between our two countries is strengthened.  “In the future, connectivity with Sri Lanka will be further enhanced through electricity grid interconnection, two-way multipurpose pipeline and setting up a land connectivity economic corridor,” the statement added.

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