Water transport will be developed in Mumbai and the surrounding region in the next two to three years, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis today said. “With the Parliament passing the inland waterways act, water transport in Mumbai will become reality in two to three year,” he said during a debate on the issue in the Assembly.
It will ease traffic congestion and provide affordable and pollution-free mode of transport, he said. However, developing water transport along the west coast of Mumbai would be a challenge because of rough sea, he said. “Transport is not possible all-year-round at present. We will examine feasibility, technological advancement and then float tenders,” he said. Water transport will also be developed in neighbouring Thane, Kalyan, Mira-Bhayandar and Vasai, and a detailed project report (DPR) was being prepared, Fadnavis said.
The 145-km long Thane creek has been designated as National Waterway (NW) 53. There are 14 National Waterways in Maharashtra — seven of them along the creeks and as many along inland rivers. The Chief Minister said the government was also planning Roll-On Roll-Off (RORO) service (transportation of vehicles by boats) from Bhayandar to Vasai, and had received Rs 5 crore grant from the Centre under the Sagarmala project for it. “We are waiting for environmental clearance,” he said.
Development of waterways in Thane and Vasai creeks was expected to cost Rs 280 crore, Fadnavis said. A feasibility study for RORO service to ferry trucks from Kasheli to Ghodbunder in Thane, on the way to Gujarat, was being carried out, and this facility will ensure that heavy vehicles bypass Thane city, the CM said. Water transport along the east coast of Mumbai region will ease the congestion on roads leading to Gujarat, he said.