With the Mumbai civic elections less than three months away, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led state government on Monday laid the foundation stone for the much-delayed water transport project on the eastern coast, and set a March 2018 deadline for it.
The project, which aims to create a water transport network with roll on, roll off ferry services between Mandwa, Nerul and Ferry Wharf in South Mumbai, has been on the cards for nearly two decades. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union minister for Road Transport, Shipping and Highways Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stone for the terminal at Ferry Wharf, expected to be built at a cost of Rs 32 crore, on Monday.
Fadnavis said the previous Congress-NCP government sat on the project as it could not decide which agency should implement it, delaying the project. He said, “Breakwater work for the Mandwa terminal has also started, while contract for the construction of the Nerul terminal has been awarded. The work at the Ferry Wharf too will start now, and with this Mumbai residents will be able to use the waterways to commute from March 2018.”
Once the water transport service commences, commuters will be able to board the service even with their cars and travel the distance from Nerul to Ferry Wharf in 17 minutes and Mandwa to Ferry Wharf in 15 minutes. The Mumbai Maritime Board is constructing the terminal at Mandwa, the City and Industrial Development Corporation is working on the Nerul terminal, while the Mumbai Port Trust is working on the Ferry Wharf terminal.
He added that the state government is in talks with experts from the Russian government for guidance on how to make the project viable on the western coast too. “The sea on the western coast is choppier and as per our current studies it is not possible to operate passenger water transport on the western coast for more than 7 months in a year as against 10 months on the eastern coast. This makes the project unviable. We are trying to find a solution,” the CM said.
He also said the government is also working on a plan to integrate water transport with other planned and existing transportation projects such as Metro railway corridors, suburban railway lines, monorail, bus routes and so on.
Gadkari said the Union government has approved the state proposals to build cargo and passenger terminals. “The state government has submitted 60 more proposals for cargo and passenger jetties, which our government will soon approve,” Gadkari said.
Projects pick up pace
- Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis and Union minister Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stone for water transport terminal at Ferry Wharf that will facilitate travel to Nerul in 17 minutes and to Mandwa in 15 minutes. The Mumbai Maritime Board is constructing a terminal at Mandwa, while CIDCO is constructing a terminal at Nerul
- The project was originally conceived nearly two decades ago. It envisions the use of catamarans and hovercraft for passenger transport and RO-RO vessels to transport vehicles. The government has now set a 2018 deadline for the project. The west coast passenger water transport project has been put on hold
- Besides the Ferry Wharf terminal, the CM and Gadkari also laid foundation stones for a fifth oil berth at Jawahar Dweep, a bunkering facility there, as well as upgrading the existing passenger facility at Ferry Wharf
- The Centre has approved proposals from the state to create nine cargo and passenger jetties, with many within the Mumbai Metropolitan Region in locations such as Borivli, Gorai, Bhayander, Virar, and Ghodbunder
- Within the next two months, the government is likely to conduct bhoomipujan ceremonies for more projects such as the mid-sea Chhatrapati Shivaji Memorial and the Sewri-Nhava Sheva trans-harbor link in the run up to Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation elections
- The state government has also recently secured a clearance from the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority for the first phase of its showpiece coastal freeway to decongest the city’s western suburbs. In the first phase, which is being implemented by the BMC, Nariman Point will be connected to the Bandra-Worli sea link. The civic body is now awaiting a final approval from the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.