The city’s 62-km coastline could finally be in use as a transport corridor supplementing our saturated suburban railway services.
The Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority’s (MMRDA) Rs 6,143 crore budget (last year’s was Rs 6,653 crore) for this year has set aside Rs 100 crore for a water transport line from Ferry Wharf to Belapur, and another one from Ferry Wharf to Mandwa.
This project, along with a Rs 100 crore plan to convert the Uttan-Gorai-Manori region into a tourism centre are the highlights of MMRDA’s new budget. The provision for infrastructure work, however, has been reduced by Rs 510 crore over last year.
“Ferry Wharf-Belapur, using catamarans and hovercraft, will be a passenger-only service, Ferry Wharf-Mandwa, with a roll-on-roll-off ferry, will carry both people and vehicles,” MMRDA Commissioner Ratnakar Gaikwad said. MMRDA has an in-principal approval from the chief secretary-headed committee on the East Coast water transport project.
“After we get the clearances, we will start the project as a Public Private Partnership and begin work on infrastructure like jetties,” Gaikwad added. MMRDA will also spend Rs 100 crore to develop Uttan-Gorai-Manori as a tourist centre, and has planned a mangrove park and theme Park on 45 sq km.
“We want to turn this region into a tourism and entertainment hub. All the gaothans in the area will get an FSI of one,” Gaikwad said. MMRDA’s Rs 6,143 crore budget has allocated Rs 380 crore for the Metro project and Rs 1,453 crore for the Monorail project
MMRDA has, however, scaled down its budget from Rs 6,653 crore in 2009-10 to Rs 6,143 crore. Despite budgeting to spend Rs 6,653 crore last year, it only spent Rs 3,840 crore on development.
“The estimated spending couldn’t be done as the cost of certain projects was lowered while in some cases projects like MTHL, for which we had made a provision of Rs 500 crore, were put on hold,” Gaikwad added.
The dip in the real estate market also meant that MMRDA, which was hoping to earn Rs 4,490 crore last year, could earn only Rs 3,322 crore. It had planned to earn Rs 1,523 crore from land sale but earned only Rs 650.25 crore. For this year, MMRDA has put out a conservative earning estimate of Rs 3,855.76 crore.