Vasai-Bhayandar ro-ro service: No big gain for regular commuters

22 February,2024 06:45 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Diwakar Sharma

Vasai East and Nalasopara residents say jetty is too far from their homes and that road leading to it is too narrow

Vehicles ferried to Bhayandar from Vasai on Tuesday. Pics/Hanif Patel

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Residents of Virar, Nalasopara and Vasai East are not looking forward to using the recently inaugurated roll-on/roll-off boat services that connect Vasai and Bhayandar via the sea as it takes them a while to reach the jetty in Vasai West. They said the services would only prove helpful for those living in proximity to the jetty.

While Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) officials claim the Ro-Ro boat services will be a great help for people residing in Vasai, Virar and Nalasopara, a local critic termed them an election stunt, saying they had been started in a hurry.

Vehicles are ferried to Bhayandar from Vasai on Tuesday. Pics/Hanif Patel

"Had the Vasai been connected to Kalyan, Thane and Raigad under the Central government's ambitious Sagar Mala project, it would have been a huge hit. Connecting Vasai to Bhayandar will not be welcome. The services will be only used by those who reside near Vasai jetty," said Vasai resident Praveen Nalawade.

Vasai taluka residents have been facing challenges in terms of infrastructure as they have to rush to Mumbai during health emergencies. "The Vasai Virar City Municipal Corporation (VVCMC) has not made a single hospital for the residents of Vasai taluka from Naigaon to Virar. During health emergencies, people rush to Mumbai and get stuck in traffic," Nalawade added.

"Most private hospitals and a civic facility are located in Vasai West. So, this Ro-Ro boat could have helped in this regard. But boat services will have to be suspended during the monsoon when the sea is usually rough. So, everything is back to square one," observed Nalawade.

Narrow road

MMB officials claim that the distance between Vasai and Bhayandar is being covered in 15 minutes. The Ro-Ro is capable of ferrying up to 100 passengers, nearly 40 cars and 50 two-wheelers in a single trip. But the road leading to Vasai jetty is very narrow, as one car has to go off-road to give way to oncoming vehicles. "The road between Vasai jetty and the tehsildar office is narrow. The government should have at least widened this road before allowing the traffic to increase on the narrow lane. Residents are going to face traffic snarl if these Ro-Ro boat services are successful," he added.

Motorists make their way to the boats at the Vasai jetty

A resident of Nalasopara East, Sayali Hajare, said, "Vasai jetty is too far from my residence, and it will take a lot of time to reach there. The conditions of roads between Nalasopara and Vasai jetty are also pathetic, and the pains of commuters get aggravated if there is a traffic jam." "So, I don't think people residing in Nalasopara are going to use these services. Had they been started from Rajodi beach, I would have considered using them, as this is a bit closer for Nalasopara residents," Hajare added.

Vasai East resident Atul Mote said, "The Ro-Ro boat services are of no use for Vasai East residents. I am not excited about them in the least." Similarly, the residents of Virar feel that had the services been started from Arnala, it would have been better. "Why will I go to Vasai jetty from Virar? It will be convenient for Virar residents to use the Mumbai-Ahmedabad highway to go to Mumbai instead of going to Vasai jetty, as it will waste at least one precious hour," said Virar resident Tejas Khopkar.

When contacted, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), MMB, Maanik Rao Gursal, said, "The services have been started on a pilot basis. The next project is to connect Kalyan and Thane to Vasai."

No of cars that can be ferried in one trip

No of bikes that can be ferried in one trip

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