Mangaluru, Oct 9: The New Mangalore Port Trust Chairman A V Ramana suggested an idea to launch helicopter services to tourist destinations within a distance of 150-km from Mangaluru.
He said that the proposal will be submitted to the chief secretary of Karnataka government. If the helicopter services are connected to tourist destinations then NMPT can expect more cruise vessels, he told media persons on Tuesday evening.
The chairman said in a move to give thrust to cruise tourism, the NMPT had drawn up a plan to have an exclusive gate and road for the movement of tourists at the port. The new gate with an approach road will cater to the entry and exit of tourists coming through cruisers. This will ensure that there is no hindrance to the regular traffic inside the port.
Keeping the interest of tourists in mind, district administration has agreed to run a pre-paid taxi counter. At present, pre-paid taxis and buses reach up to berth number 4 at the port to ferry passengers. When the first cruise arrives at the port on November 4, all the regular traffic from Mallya Gate of the Port will be diverted to other gates, to give a better feeling for the tourists.
The NMP is planning to have a transport hub outside the gate to help the passengers of cruise vessel explore the city on their own in a taxi or auto.
The NMPT chairman said majority of the survey for dredging at the port was completed. The agency will complete the survey in navigation channel within two to three days. The dredger had left for Mangaluru from Vishakhapattanam and dredging will begin from mid October.
The NMP had experienced 11% decline in handling cargo owing to the closure of MRPL due to water shortage in the month of March-April. The landslides and inclement weather had taken a toll on road cargo from the hinterland. “By the end of financial year, NMP is confident of achieving the target for the fiscal year.”