Ferry service likely from Panaji to Vasco

Passengers are likely to get a ferry service from the capital city to Vasco, as part of the process to make optimal use of the waterways, officials said on Friday.

The financial and the technical bids for the techno feasibility report have been opened and out of the eight bidders, one was appointed as a consultant on Thursday.

The proposal for Vasco to Panaji merits attention as it would avoid the congestion from Dona Paula to Panaji or the bottleneck to get out of the Dona Paula bay. The bids were to identify routes like from Vasco to Dona Paula, Vasco to Panaji, or Aldona to Panaji, Cortalim to Panaji. Other feasible routes could also be proposed.

Officials said that it would take another 4-6 weeks for a feasibility report to be ready and then the report would be sent for approval and tendered. "Yes, the tendering process will be ready shortly," the Minister for Captain of Port (CoP), Mr Ramkrishna Dhavalikar told media confirming the news.

The CoP jetty should take a year to be completed though according to GSIDC, time given to it is ten months while the canopy should take another year.

When asked whether this is an all-weather solution, the Captain of Ports, Capt James Braganza said that this would depend on whether navigation is possible in inclement weather. "If so, then it would be used, if not, it would be discontinued during that period," he said. However, internal routes could well be made to continue as there are less adverse weather conditions on those routes.

According to CoP officials, Ro Ro ferries would be ideal as they would carry vehicles as well as passengers and have sufficient speed as well as sufficient stability to withstand rough weather while transporting cargo. "Boats should not roll and pitch as this will create instability for parking of vehicles and inconvenience to passengers (sea sickness)," Capt Braganza said.

Goa has about 555 km of inland waterways out of which only 255 km are navigable through the Mandovi and Zuari rivers and their tributaries. Out of these, around 122 km are being used mainly by the mining for transportation of iron ore to the port of Mormugao, from loading points in the hinterlands.

Waterways, if properly harnessed, will provide quick and economical transportation facilities for both, passengers and cargo traffic, and decongest roads. The state has almost 8.5 lakh vehicles. Goan waterways are among the ten waterways identified by the National Transport Policy Committee (NTPC) during the 9th Five-Year Plan and we are now at the end of the 11th Five-Year Plan. [NT]