India and Sri Lanka to launch ferry service between Kankesanthurai port and Pondicherry in January 2023
According to the Sri Lankan Ports, Shipping, and Civil Aviation Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva a passenger ferry service between Kankesanthurai port in Jaffna district and Karaikal ports in Puducherry will start in January 2023.
The Minister said that passenger transport services will also be started from Thoothukudi (Tamil Nadu) to Colombo in Sri Lanka in near future.
He said that till now no firm conclusion has been reached about starting the ferry service between Thalaimannar (Sri Lanka) and Rameshwaram (India).
The ferry service between Tamil Nadu and the Northern part of Sri Lanka which is dominated by Sri Lanka Tamils was disrupted in 1980’s due to the civil war in Sri Lanka. After the end of the civil war in Sri Lanka in 2009, efforts were made to revive the old transportation link between the two countries.
In 2011 a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between the two countries to start ferry service between the two countries.
In 2018 India provided $45.27 million for upgrading the Kankesanthurai harbour into a commercial port.
Benefits of the Ferry service
The ferry services will make travel to Sri Lanka easier from south India, thus providing a boost to tourism in Sri Lanka, which is suffering from its worst-ever economic crisis. Indians are the largest source of tourists to Sri Lanka.
They will also strengthen the cultural bonds between the two regions with linguistic similarities.
Boost to religious tourism
Tamils from Sri Lanka who are Hindus often visit India for religious purposes. The majority Sinhalese population of Sri Lanka are Buddhist and frequently visit the Buddhist tourist places in India.
Similarly many Tamils from India visit the temples of Sri Lanka .The ferry service will make travel easier for pilgrims from both nations.
India is separated from Sri Lanka by a narrow channel of seas formed by the Palk Strait and Gulf of Mannar.
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