GANDHINAGAR: Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in his home state Gujarat for the third time this month to launch various projects -- including the Rs. 650-crore 'roll-on, roll-off (Ro-Ro)' ferry service which he had described as his dream project. Assembly elections will be held later this year - the dates are expected to be announced after the visit. From Bhavnagar district's Ghogha, he will go to Dahej in Bharuch in the newly-launched the ferry service. His next stop would be Vadodara, where he will inaugurate and lay the foundation stone for developmental and infrastructure projects worth over Rs. 1,140 crore.
"I am happy to be in Gujarat to personally convey New Year greetings. This programme may be for a ferry between Ghogha and Dahej, but it is of vital importance for the entire nation," the Prime Minister said.
The 31-km ferry service between Ghogha and Dahej in the Gulf of Cambay, will cut down travel time from "seven or eight hours to just over an hour". The distance on road between the two towns will be down from 310 km to 30 km.
The ferry service will hugely benefit the people working in the diamond-cutting and polishing hub of Surat.
Underscoring the need for better use of waterways, the Prime Minister said, "When I was serving as CM, I faced hostility from the then Central Government. Efforts were made to stall industries and the state's growth. Over the last three years we have changed that and given importance to the development of Gujarat".
Ajay Bhadoo, Chief Executive Officer of the Gujarat Maritime Board which is executing the Ro-Ro project, said the first phase of the service is meant for passengers.
In the second phase - which is expected to be ready in two months - the boats will be able to ferry cars. In the final phase, it would also have the facility to carry trucks.
The idea of the ferry service was conceived in early 1960s. PM Modi laid the foundation stone for the project in January 2012, when he was the Chief Minister of Gujarat.
From Dahej, the Prime Minister will leave for Vadodara, where he is scheduled to inaugurate and lay the foundation stone for various developmental and infrastructure projects worth over Rs. 1,140 crore.
The PM will also address a public meeting at the sprawling Navlakhi Ground in the city in the afternoon and may hold a roadshow before flying back to Delhi.
The Prime Minister has made multiple visits to Gujarat ahead of the elections. He addressed a massive rally in capital Gandhinagar earlier this week. Last week, he inaugurated various projects in Rajkot, his hometown Vadnagar, Gandhinagar and Bharuch.