Panaji: Road, air and now sea. Come December and the Mumbaikars can embark upon a ferry to reach their favourite destination Goa. Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Water Resources and Ganga Rejuvenation Nitin Gadkari announced that Goa-Mumbai Ferry service will begin by December 2017.
Gadkari made this announcement on Tuesday during a press briefing after the conclusion of the mid-review meeting of major ports held in Goa. He also stated that the Sagarmala Project will enable in creating 10 million jobs including 4 million direct jobs. In the sixties and seventies, there was actually a pair of steamers which used to ply between Panaji and Mumbai, carrying loads of passengers on a charming journey along the Konkan coastline.
The ship would make various stops at Vengurla, Malvan and Ratnagiri among other places to take on more passengers who would arrive in large hand-rowed canoes. A catamaran service was started by Damania Shipping in 1994 between Mumbai and Goa, using a Scandinavian-built vessel, with aeroplane-style reclining seats. The trip from Mumbai used to take seven hours to reach Panaji. The catamaran too, travelled around 40 km offshore, giving travellers a glimpse of the palm-fringed Konkan coast.
Since 2004, the sea route between Goa-Mumbai was discontinued. In the review meeting, for the first time, a separate session with Public Private Partnership (PPP) operators and other stakeholders was held to obtain feedback, to fast-track the implementation of projects and to restart the stalled projects. Twelve major ports and Cochin Shipyard Limited, Shipping Corporation of India, Dredging Corporation of India, Directorate General of Lighthouses and Lightships, Inland Waterways Authority of India, DG Shipping, Tariff Authority for Major Ports, Indian Port Rail Corporation Ltd and Indian Ports Association took part in the meeting.