East coast calling: Marina, inland water transport hub in the works
MbPT to convert stretch into tourist zone; Gadkari to conduct bhoomijujan on Saturday
Domestic cruises, water taxis, floating restaurants, and catamarans — Mumbai is all set to get a brand new water transport hub. The project will be spread across a 1-km stretch on the seafront near Ferry Wharf in the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) complex. The area already houses the newly inaugurated domestic cruise terminal and a ropax (roll-on/roll-off for passenger vehicles) terminal.
Apart from water taxis, the MbPT is also looking to develop a skating rink and a walkway in the area. The new transport system will provide a network of passenger ships from Mumbai to Navi Mumbai and Alibaug. With this plan, the government aims to not only reduce travel time but also decongest road traffic.
“This will be the water transport hub of the city on the eastern side. We will start water taxi services to several places and will also have a marina. The Mumbai-Goa cruises are already on,” said Sanjay Bhatia, chairman, MbPT.
On Saturday, Union minister Nitin Gadkari will conduct the bhoomipoojan of the project. He will also inaugurate the floating restaurants and invite tenders for the ropeway project from Elephanta Island to Sewri.
The proposed 8-km ropeway will connect Sewri and the island, which is famous for the Elephanta Caves — a UNESCO World Heritage Site. At present, tourists can access the island by ferry from Gateway of India.
Earlier, MbPT planned to take the ropeway over the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link; however, a revised plan has now altered the alignment by around 2km in order to reduce construction costs and complications.
“If we took it over the MTHL, the cost would go up as the pillars would have to be higher to have enough clearance over the MTHL. Apart from that, the change in angle will also help in avoiding any disturbance to the flamingos in the Sewri area,” a senior MbPT official said.
The project will be implemented on a public-private partnership model. MbPT will also share a part of the revenue earned by the private player who will operate the service.
MbPT officials said the project, which is estimated to cost ₹700 crore, will be a tourist attraction. The base fare of a trip on the ropeway is estimated to be priced at ₹600. However, the final fares will be decided later in conjunction with MbPT which is considering dynamic pricing depending on demand. Officials added that the private player can also add viewing galleries and restaurants on the towers of the ropeway to make the project financially viable.