A state function at the Gateway of India has ruined travel plans for many, with the police suspending all ferry transport in and out of the Gateway.
On March 12 and 13, functions to mark the beginning of the birth centenary year of Yashwantrao Chavan, the state’s first chief minister, are being held at the Gateway of India.
President Pratibha Patil was in the city on Monday to attend the event. As a security measure, the police suspended ferry services at the Gateway between March 10 and March 13. Normal service will resume from Wednesday.
More than a thousand persons use the ferry services at Gateway of India daily. These include tourists visiting the Elephanta island and people travelling to Alibaug, Mandva, Uran and Nhava Sheva. The abrupt disruption of services has inconvenienced many. “We received a circular on March 9, only one day prior to the suspension,” complained Suhas Padte, owner of Mahesh Tours and Travels. “This is causing huge inconvenience to passengers. We couldn’t place any board or inform them about this development.”
Among those affected were foreigners who arrive on visa with a limited duration. “We are in Mumbai only for a week and our Elephanta trip was scheduled on Monday. But due to this programme, we will have to either reschedule or drop it,” said Rohit Bhala, a non-resident Indian from Sydney.
A state maritime board official said there were alternatives available. “It is a temporary suspension of services from Gateway of India. But the alternate option is available from Bhaucha Dhaka. Travel companies can operate their launches from there,” said the official requesting anonymity. The official said services had been suspended at Gateway since the YB Chavan centenary function was on till March 13.
Launch owners, meanwhile, complained that such disruptions because of “security reasons” were becoming frequent.