This Article is From Feb 12, 2012

Top officials visit Arichal Munai

Top officials visit Arichal Munai
Rameswaram: Top Indian officials today visited the Arichal Munai near here and other places to see if ferry service between Rameswaram and Talaimannar in Sri Lanka, suspended in the 1980s, could be resumed.

Ferry services between India and Sri Lanka halted in the early 1980s because of the civil war in Sri Lanka.

Tuticorin Port Trust Chairman Subbiah, who visited the areas along with Shipping Secretary K.Mohandass, said the state and Central Governments should negotiate with the Lankan government for resuming service between Rameswaram and Talaimannar.

Some facilities had to be created at the Rameswaram Harbour for resuming the service, he said.

About reviving Tuticorin ferry service that had hit a snag due to economic and legal problems after a few months of operation last year, he said it would resume once a big ship that could transport 1450 passengers per trip arrived from Shipping Corporation of India.

The Tuticorin-Colombo service was started in June last year aiming to tap the potential bilateral business opportunities, amid growing trade links in the post-conflict era.

Regarding the Sethusamudram Shipping Channel project, he said the case was pending with the Supreme court."We have made some suggestions regarding the alternative route and that is also pending before the court."

Sethusamudram Shipping Channel Project proposes linking Palk Bay and the Gulf of Mannar between India and Sri Lanka.

Work on the project has been stalled as the Supreme Court had earlier reserved orders on the project and appointed an expert Committee headed by noted environmentalist R K Pachauri. The court was moved on the grounds that the present alignment would damage the Ramar sethu, a bridge believed to have been constructed by Lord Ram.

Mohandoss told reporters that Sri Lanka was looking for a new operator to revive ferry services between Colombo-Tuticorin.

On the Rameswaram-Talaimannar ferry service, he said Rameswaram does not have a port facility and it was upto the Tamil Nadu government to construct a new port.

"Tamil Nadu government should hold talks with Sri Lanka in this regard," he said.