The city’s 45-km long coastline will soon be developed and opened to tourists. Chief Minister Ashok Chavan has asked the Centre for Rs 300 to Rs 400 crore for a waterfront development project to develop jetties on the eastern and western waterfront.
The idea: to decongest Gateway of India, Colaba, and distribute the tourist load over other areas.
The government says this will also enable thorough security checks.
Chavan has also requested a 1,500-personnel marine police force to guard the state’s 720-km coastline.
A private company working with the Gujarat government—which has managed the security and upkeep of its ports and waterfronts—made a presentation to Home Minister R. R. Patil on Tuesday during the Maharashtra Coastal Security committee meeting.
Additional Chief Secretary (Home) Chandra Iyengar and officials from the Coast Guard, Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and Bombay Port Trust (BPT) also attended the meeting.
“The idea is to look at developing Mumbai as a port city just like Amsterdam, Singapore and Hong Kong,” said Iyengar. “If we look at the entire coast, there are several jetties that are underutilised like Hay Wharf, Ferry Wharf and even Bandra.
If the wharfs are developed well, and proper security, access routes and transport are provided, there is no reason people will not go to these instead of Gateway of India.”
The home department has also proposed to set up marine radars, transponders and sea satellite linkage systems at these jetties, and provide 50 boats for coastal security.
The MMRDA will prepare a plan in consultation with the BMC and the BPT after taking an aerial view of Mumbai and mapping the coast.
The MMRDA will then call for a private consultant to execute the plan.
The police have to deal with heavy tourist traffic at the Gateway, where an average of 20 catamarans bring along 200 people every hour.
Apart from boats carrying goods, there are more than 80 catamarans and at least 100 private yachts and private luxury liners at the Gateway jetty at any time.