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Lanka, India ink ferry service pact


New Delhi: India and Sri Lanka have inked a pact to launch a much-awaited ferry service between Colombo and Tuticorin in Tamil Nadu and also re-introduce the Thalaimannar-Rameswaram route, officials said in Colombo.

As per the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the two sides, the Colombo-Tuticorin service will commence first, pti reported quoting the Sri Lankan officials as said, without giving the dates.
Sea passenger transportation between India and Sri Lanka is being established consequent to the Joint Declaration of June 9, 2010 following the talks between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in New Delhi.

The ferry service between the two countries would be resumed for the first time since 1982. It was suspended in the wake of the LTTE conflict in the island nation.

Passenger transportation by sea is being established for the benefit of a large number of businessmen, holiday makers, pilgrims and students who travel regularly to and from Sri Lanka and India.
According to the Sri Lankan Tourism Development Authority (SLTDA), the largest number of visitors to this country come from India. The number is increasing with the restoration of peace in Sri Lanka.

The SLTDA figures showed that 111,129 Indians had come to Sri Lanka in 2010 prior to December, with a monthly average of nearly 10,000.