30 ferries serving Goans on 18 waterways
Panaji / Betim: Even though the state government is considering developing inland waterways by proposing to set up a connectivity circuit across five rivers in the state, the existing infrastructure consists of around 30 ferries serving Goans on 18 different waterways.
Spread across the state, some of these roads also connect islands, said Sohan Shirodkar, traffic manager at the Department of River Navigation (RND).
Stating that ferry services start as early as 7 a.m. and continue until midnight daily with a break in between on some routes, Shirodkar said thousands of citizens including office workers, students and even tourists, take advantage of these services across the state.
Ribandar-Chorao is one of the busiest ferry lines and the five ferry boats that ply the route are insufficient, as the crowds keep increasing, especially during rush hours. Despite the presence of an RND inspector, who is deployed on this road to control traffic, the situation sometimes gets out of hand, Shirodkar said.
About 1.5 lakh of people commute on the Ribandar-Chorao road every day, Shirodkar said, adding that the Panaji-Betim road welcomes more than 15,000 commuters daily. Service on the Panaji-Betim road is available 24 hours a day, he said.
To cope with the increasing number of footsteps on these inland waterways, the state government is building more piers and ramps and is also increasing ferry trips on the roads in an effort to ease the crowds of commuters and the circulation.
While some ferry routes see a high influx of commuters during peak hours, other routes see a limited number of travelers and the department deploys ferries based on demand on those routes, Shirodkar said.
A total of five ferries crisscross one route, while two ferries crisscross seven other routes and the other ten routes have one ferry running on each route.
Four ferry routes witness remarkably huge crowds and the department struggles to serve the migrating public on those routes, Shirodkar said. Apart from the Ribandar-Chorao route, which has five ferries serving the public, other busy routes are Sao Pedro-Divar, Old Goa-Piedade and Betim-Panaji where one or two ferries are deployed.
Explaining more about inland waterways, Shirodkar said a ferryboat is only deployed on the Agaccain-Cortalim route in an emergency. He said the Marcaim-Cortalim road is the longest route while Betim-Panaji and Cumbharjua-Zuyem are the shortest.
Stating that a ferry on the Marcaim-Cortalim route takes around 45 minutes to cross the river, Shirodkar said the department makes arrangements for a ferry on the Vanxim-Amboi route whenever there is an emergency, such as Vanxim being an island, citizens face a problem when they need to connect to the mainland.
The ferry routes are Panaji-Betim, Ribandar-Chorao, Old Goa-Piedade, Sao Pedro-Divar, Amboi-Vanshi, Naroa-Divar, Keri-Tiracol, Raia-Shiroda, Camurlim-Tuem, Pomburpa-Chorao, Tonca-Sarmanas , Volvoi-Maina, Volvoi-Surla, Cumbharjua-Gaundalim, Marcaim-Cortalim, Adpai-Rassai, Vansoi-Durbhat and Tolto-Dhauji. The ferry is deployed on the Agaccaim-Cortalim route only in the event of an emergency.