India-Sri Lanka ferry service restarted after 40 yrs
- An age-old sea route between India and Sri Lanka has been rejuvenated with the inauguration of a passenger ferry service from Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu to Kankesanthurai in Jaffna, Northern Sri Lanka.
- 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 new service:
- The ferry service was launched on Saturday.
- The name of the vessel, a High Speed Craft, is ‘Cheriyapani’.
- A one-way ticket costs approximately Rs 7,670, with a baggage allowance of up to 40 kg per passenger.
- The journey starts from Nagapattinam at 7 am, reaching Kankesanthurai by 11 am, and the return trip begins at 1.30 pm, arriving in Nagapattinam by 5.30 pm.
The previous route:
- Maritime linkage between India and Sri Lanka isn’t new.
- The Indo-Ceylon Express or Boat Mail ran between Chennai and Colombo via the Thoothukudi port from the early 1900s up until 1982.
- However, the civil war in Sri Lanka resulted in the halting of these services.
- Before the civil war erupted, one of the most popular routes was from Dhanushkodi to Talaimannar.
- Passengers from Chennai would get onto the Boat Mail Express, a train from Chennai’s Egmore railway station, and then transfer to a coal-powered steam ferry in Dhanushkodi, which would take them to Talaimannar in roughly two hours.
Potential impact of the new service:
- By providing a transportation option, the ferry can amplify religious tourism in the coastal regions of both countries.
- From India, travellers can access significant religious sites in Colombo and the southern parts of Sri Lanka.
- Indian pilgrim centres such as Nagapattinam, Nagore, Velankanni, Thirunallar, and temple towns such as Thanjavur, Madurai, and Tiruchi are expected to see an influx of Lankan tourists.
- Beyond religious tourism, the services would boost regional commerce and trade.
Syllabus: Prelims; International Relations