After a 27-year wait, Mumbai’s tryst with a water transport system might come true by October 2011.
The state road development corporation has finally got a state support agreement for the Western Inland Passenger Transport System that will link Nariman Point to Borivli.
Once operational, you could use water transport such as hovercraft or catamaran to travel from the south-end of the city to the north.
“The government has decided to give state support status to the project. This means that bidders will get state guarantees while raising money for this project,” minister in-charge of Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) Jaydutt Kshirsagar said.
About 19 parties have bought bid documents for the Rs 1,200-crore project. The last day for submission of bids is April 15.
Kshirsagar said MSRDC is confident of implementing the project by October 2011 as several issues, which were raised by bidders, have been cleared.
“Earlier the onus of safely relocating the cables under the seabed was on the winning bidder, but now we have taken responsibility. We are hopeful the project will finally start,” Kshirsagar said.
The corporation’s earlier attempts to start the project met with repeated failures.
In 2003, it had floated tenders to run the water transport service on a build-operate-transfer basis. Three years later, the tender was awarded to a consortium headed by Satyagiri Shipping Co Ltd, which included Videocon.
But the consortium broke up and later got new partners Gammon India, Uttam Galva Steel and Moreshwar Trading Company.
But a high-powered committee, headed by chief secretary Johny Joseph, decided that addition of new partners was in violation of norms and recommended MSRDC to issue a new tender.
Then in June 2008, MSRDC floated tenders but of the 10 who purchased the bid documents, none submitted them.
Under the Passenger Water Transport Project, the government plans to utilise Mumbai’s 34-km coastline to provide alternate mass transport systems at an affordable cost.
This will also help relieve pressure on the overloaded commuting systems such as the railways.