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Steps to revive ferry service between Rameshwaram and Talaimannar in Sri Lanka

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 reports.

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 air fare,"

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.

 

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