Panaji: River Navigation Department minister Subhash Phal Desai has said that the introduction of the pass system to avail ferry boat services for the islanders will reduce their travel cost, compared to the past.
Talking to GNH, Phal Desai said that the in the year 1995, two-wheelers were charged a fee of Rs 5 per trip to avail ferry boat service, which was scrapped by then minister Pandurang Madkaikar as a populist measure.
The recent introduction of pass system for the two-wheelers cost Rs 150 per month, which means Rs 5 per day which also means Rs 2.5 per trip, if you travel twice and less than that if you use ferry frequently.
The minister said that Rs 600 per month pass for four-wheeler would mean Rs 20 per day, which amounts to Rs 10 per trip. The same cost was being charged earlier too.
He said that the islanders have to take ferry service on daily basis and they will have to get the passes, so that their cost of travel remains the same.
The only change is that now they have to take the prior passes.
He said that those who are not frequently availing the ferry boat services can pay Rs 40 as they are not the islanders, and many times tourists visiting these places.
Phal Desai said that the financial situation of RND is at lowest ebb with ferry boats generating revenue of Rs 70 lakhs annually while their liability is to the tune of Rs 45-50 crore.
He said that introduction of pass system will bring in Rs 4-5 crore per month as the free travel for two-wheelers would be discontinued, for the first time after 1995 and also the revenue leakage would be tapped.
He said that the RN Department has failed to improve its ferry service and introduce modern services as every time the proposal is moved, the Finance department is questioning the poor revenue collection by the department.
Phal Desai said that the adopting to the revenue models, without pinching the pockets of the common people, is necessary to continue with the up-to-date ferry boat service to the people.