Maharashtra Maritime Board has no funds, 29 of 30 planned routes scrapped

Facing A fund crunch, the Maharashtra Maritime Board’s (MMB) plan to connect the wider Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) through a water transport network may be in for a tweak.

A senior MMB official said, “In 2017, a DPR on the water transport network was prepared by the MMB, which was sent to the Cabinet for approval. But due to lack of funds, the proposal was not cleared.”

The official added that the government had sent the proposal back saying that the project should be funded on the Public-Private Partnership model. In 2008, the contract was given to a company to start the ferry services. But due to the tussle over commercial exploitation of the jetty area, the contractor failed to start the project. Since then, the plan has been stuck.

The earlier plan was to have 30 routes with transport services from Vasai, Mira Road, Thane, Navi Mumbai, Bandra and Nariman Point. The estimated cost of the project was Rs 634 crore. Now, the project has been trimmed to just one route on account of paucity of funds. The number of jetties to be built has also come down to four from 16.

A senior official said, “Now, the project is estimated to cost Rs 87 crore. The service between Mira Road to Kasheli, for which the TMC will prepare a DPR, will be funded by the Inland Waterways Authority of India.”

The Mumbai Port Trust is also planning to provide water services on six routes. It has finalised six private players to provide ferry services from Bombay Cruise Terminal to Kanoji Angrey Light House, Karanj and Revas. The private players are expected to start the services from December first week.

One of the private players said, “In India, the potential of water transport is high but infrastructure is less…A single window system is needed.”