Stopped in 1964, India-Sri Lanka ferry restarts tomorrow

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TRICHY: More than a decade after India and Sri Lanka signed an agreement to revive passenger ferry service between the two countries, a high-speed passenger craft held a successful trial run from Nagapattinam port to Kankesanthurai and back on Sunday, reports Vincent Arockiaraj. Regular service on the 111km stretch, which will be covered in three hours, will commence on Tuesday.
The vessel named ‘Cheriyapani’ is being operated by Shipping Corporation of India under the ministry of ports, shipping and waterways to facilitate a hassle-free passage and people-to people contact between Sri Lanka and India. A one-way trip for those aged above nine years will cost Rs 7,500 (including GST) and half for children aged between three and nine.
The daily departure timing at Nagapattinam will be 10am and at Kankesanthurai, 3pm. The 150-seater ferry with a 14-member crew will cover a distance of 60 nautical miles (111km) in one way.
It may be recalled that in the 1900s, a combined train and ferry service called Boat Mail or Indo-Ceylon Express was in operation between the two countries. While the train was operated between Chennai and Dhanushkodi (an abandoned town at the south-eastern tip of Pamban Island of Tamil Nadu) in 1914, a boat service was operated to Talaimannar (Sri Lanka) from there and to Colombo again by train. The boat service was stopped after a train was washed into the sea by huge waves in 1964, said A Giri, secretary of Thanjavur District Railway Users Association.

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