Union minister for road transport and highways Mansukh Mandaviya on Friday announced plans to start a Ro-Ro ferry and passenger service between Hazira and four other places. The service will connect Hazira to Ghogha, Dahej, Pipavav and Victor in Rajula. Calling 2018 a golden year for water highways in Gujarat, he said plans are afoot to develop inland waterways on the Narmada and Tapi river in the state.Mandaviya made these announcements following a visit to Hazira port on Friday. He said the inland waterways had seen a tremendous development under the present BJP government. “Until the BJP came to power, the country had just five national water highways. Now, under the National Water Highways Act 2016, there are 106 more such water highways which have been announced,” the minister said.He said a feasibility study had found that apart from the five national waterways there was the scope of developing 32 new national waterways across the country in the next three years.Mandaviya further announced that of the 32 new national waterways planned.Of these eight, two are in Gujarat. One will be 126 km long waterway from Panthariya to Khambhat which will be on the Narmada river while the other will be a 173-km-long waterway connecting Hathnur Dam to Khambhat. This will be on the Tapi river.It should be noted that earlier in October, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had launched the first phase of Ro-Ro (roll-on roll-off) ferry service between Ghogha in Bhavnagar district and Dahej in Bharuch.The service was to reduce the travel time between Saurashtra and South Gujarat by five hours. It was later announced that the ferry service will be suspended for a fortnight from January 5 onwards to remove and replace the existing walkway with a linkspan at Gogha. At present, the service only ferries passengers and following installation of the linkspan, it will also be able to transport vehicles.IN THE PIPLELINEMandaviya announced that of the 32 new national waterways planned, the detailed project report of eight of them was ready.

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Ro-Ro service to link Hazira to four places