The GCCI President Mr Ralph De Sousa along with GCCI Logistics Committee Chairman Mr Chandrakant Gawas , Director General Mr Sanjay Amonkar& Coordinator Mr Sanket Kaskar met Mr Subhash Phaldessai, Minister for River Navigation with suggestions to improve operations & economics.
Mr De Sousa said that over the years, the River Navigation Department has served the people of Goa tirelessly and this has taken its toll on the work shops, offices and the vessels owned by the river navigation department. There are some areas which have to be looked into, specifically the infrastructure segment like the river ramps and the docks for ferries and passenger boats. The fleet too needs to be modernized to meet today’s requirements. Hence we propose the following to improve functionality & generate income & employment / business opportunities in the Department.
1) The Ferry services are run as a necessity for the general public. These are not a revenue generating model and are always in the negative. We propose that Ferry Services be privatized and run on a PPP model. This will help generate income to the Govt. Branding permissions can be given to private players.
2) The Ferry ramps & infrastructure is in bad shape and need to be repaired. Some of the ramps are unsafe & can cause accidents. We propose that these also can be given to private players on PPP basis. Recreation centers, gardens, parks, can be created around the ramps with branding permissions
3) Standby Ferries be provided at Busy Ferry Points like Panaji, Chorao, Sarmanas,etc to cater to public incase of breakdown
4) The single engine Ferries may be scrapped as they are unsafe & get washed away due to engine failures
5) The Ferry yard at Malim be renovated & upgraded to construct Ferries. Currently Ferries are tendered to external agencies
6) We have observed that many times Ferry Services are disrupted due to scarcity of Diesel. Sufficient stocking arrangement be made at each Ferry Point
7) An inspector with a be posted on rounds to check the Ferry operations. This will help in Safety,predictive maintenance as well as sorting other issues
8) Captain of Ports & River Navigation Depts go hand in hand. As a step towards Ease of Doing business we propose that both these Departments be brought together.
9) We also request that a Director from Captain of Ports be posted in the river navigation Department to take care of the logistics & technicalities.
The infrastructure needs to be urgently looked into as today due to various environmental and ecological limitations, clearances and permissions for new constructions are difficult, cumbersome and almost impossible to obtain. By safeguarding what we have and revitalizing the dormant jetties and docks, we will not only give a new lease of life to them but will be prepared to make the transportation of goods and passenger movements to our vast 250kms of navigable rivers, a reality.
Mr Phaldessai assured GCCI to look into the suggestions & informed that he would convene a meeting shortly.
The Minister was positive to re- start backwater tourism utilizing the inland waterways. GCCI assured support to the Minister in terms of expertise & logistics.