Defense Advisor to Indian High commission in
Colombo Captain Ashok Rao visited Talaimannar recently to study the ground
situation while steps are being taken to recommence the ferry service between
India and Sri Lanka suspended during the War according to Sri Lankan Media
The Defence Advisor also met navy officers
stationed in Talaimannar. India has been trying to link Rameswaram and
Talaimannar by ferry services. When External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met
her then Sri Lankan counterpart Mangala Samaraweera, they discussed the
possibility of resuming ferry services between the two countries. The issue was
taken up again when the Indian Prime Minister visited Sri Lanka. One of the
main issues preventing the resumption of the ferry is the destruction of the
Talaimannar Jetty during the war.
The British began the ferry service first between
Dhanushkodi and Talaimannar in 1914. The service was later shifted to
Rameswaram, after a cyclone destroyed the Dhanushkodi port in 1964. The ferry
service between Rameswaram and Talaimannar continued till 1983, when it was suspended
in view of northern terrorism.
"In 2011, India allowed a private luxury
vessel, with a capacity to carry 1,044 passengers and 300 tonnes of cargo, to
operate between Tuticorin and Colombo a journey of 10 to 12 hours. However,
it was stopped as it could not attract passengers though it was cheaper than
Since the end of the war the Tamil Nadu state
government has been pushing the Centre to resume the ferry service to expedite
the voluntary repatriation of Sri Lankan refugees.