Mumbai Maritime Board has issued tenders to construct floating jetties that will make boarding ferries at the Gateway of India easier and safer

To address several complaints by passengers about jetties on the Gateway of India being unsafe, Mumbai Maritime Board (MMB) has decided to construct floating jetties.

As per the tender that was recently issued, MMB has planned to install two floating jetties at the Gateway of India one for arrival and the other for departure.

The Mumbai Maritime Board plans to construct floating jetties to make
disembarking and climbing into ferries easier.
(pic/ representational only)

"We have issued tenders for building two floating jetties that will make it easier for people to board the ferries from the Gateway of India. The floating jetties will be used for nine months in a year and disassembled during the monsoon," said S Shinde, the CEO of the Mumbai Maritime Board.

The contractors, who win the tender worth Rs 50 crore will also have to maintain the jetties, construct the railings and install CCTV cameras for security.

However, it isn't time yet for ferry owners and passengers to celebrate. According to Shinde, the naval authorities have certain reservations about the project. "We (MMB) are still in talks with them. But the jetties will be installed on a trial basis to begin with," he said.

Suhas Padte, a ferry boat owner who operates from the Gateway of India, welcomed the news and said, "The floating jetties will make boarding the ferries easier for children and the aged."

Mahesh Jadhav, a resident of Elephanta, echoed Padte's sentiments. "There were times when people had to jump on a row of small boats just to board a particular ferry. The jetties will make travelling easy, safe and secure," he said.

Rains put ferry biz in deep waters

An extended monsoon has left Mumbai drenched and ferry boat owners hoping for good business during the festive season disappointed, as they have had to shut services thrice last week due to unexpected showers. With Diwali round the corner, tour operators and ferry boat owners are a worried lot.

Tourism in Mumbai is at its peak during Diwali and tour operators fear that continued rain will result in heavy losses. "Usually the monsoon withdraws during Navratri, but this year we fear it is going to play spoilsport during Diwali too. On Friday evening, we had to close the jetty due to a sudden storm in the sea. This is peak season for us but the unexpected rains are affecting our business," said Suhas Padte, a ferry boat owner at the Gateway of India. Another boat owner said, "This is holiday season and we see a huge flow of tourists who wish to go to Alibaug and Elephanta caves. So far, the situation seems to be worrying."

According to an India Meteorological Department (IMD) official, withdrawal of monsoon is declared only if there are five clear and hot days without rain over a large area. While there is no specific date, the monsoons did start to withdraw from Dahanu on Tuesday, the IMD official said.