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State wants smaller jetties for inland water transport project

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Chief secretary has asked MSRDC to reduce the size of proposed jetties on eastern coast from 40 m to 10 m and increase them only if the response is good

It seems that the state government itself is not sure of the success of the Inland Passenger Water Transport (IPWT) project on the east coast of Mumbai, which will connect Ferry Wharf with Nerul and Mandwa.

While the contracts for constructing jetties, including one at Ferry Wharf (Bhaucha Dhakka, in pic), have already been given, the MSRDC is awaiting clearance from the CM-headed Cabinet Sub-Committee on Infrastructure. File pic
While the contracts for constructing jetties, including one at Ferry Wharf (Bhaucha Dhakka, in pic), have already been given, the MSRDC is awaiting clearance from the CM-headed Cabinet Sub-Committee on Infrastructure. File pic

In a meeting that took place between the state chief secretary (CS) and other important departments recently, the CS told the MSRDC that the jetties that will be constructed for the project should be small, and their size should be increased only after studying the response to the service, which is expected to reduce pressure on the harbour line.

A senior MMRDA official, who was present at the meeting, said, “The state government is not sure whether the east coast water transport project will be successful. So, it wants MSRDC to decrease the size of jetties to 10 metres against the original plan of 40 metres. The final decision is yet to be taken.”

Construction of 40-metre wide jetties would have cost the MSRDC more than Rs 1,300 crore and the state government does not want the money to go down the drain if the project is not successful. It has, thus, asked the MSRDC to cut the size of the jetties by 30 metres. The 10-metre ones will cost Rs 350-400 crore.

The Rs 308.28-crore contract for constructing jetties at Ferry Wharf and Nerul has been given to J.Kumar-Foundation Associates and DBM-Supreme Infrastructure will develop Mandwa jetty at the cost of Rs 63.71 crore. Once the construction of jetties is complete, MSRDC will invite private players to ferry passengers in hovercrafts and catamarans on a Build, Operate and Transfer (BOT) model.

In limbo
However, the actual work on the jetties will only start after the project gets final clearance from the CM Prithiviraj Chavan-headed Cabinet Sub-Committee on Infrastructure. The MSRDC has been awaiting clearance from the committee since August 2012. mid-day tried to contact MSRDC Managing Director Anil Diggikar to get more details, but he was unavailable for comment.

Benefits
Inland water transport is environment-friendly
It leads to significant savings in travel time due to increased speed and lack of congestion on waterways.
Provides savings in vehicle operating cost due to reduction in congestion on existing roads.
Air and noise pollution is reduced along existing corridors.

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