Waterways to take the load off railways soon

Published: 09 November, 2013 06:57 IST | Shashank Rao |

When it materialises, the Rs 1,355.5-crore Inland Passenger Water Transport project will enable commuters to travel via catamaran, hovercraft and roll-on roll-off services to places like Nerul

After railways, waterways could become the city’s lifeline, with the state government working towards getting the Inland Passenger Water Transport (IPWT) system started. Finding the influx of 75 lakh plus daily commuters too much to handle, Mumbai Suburban Railway has asked the government to expedite the process of exploring alternative modes of public transport, with waterways on the eastern and western suburbs.

At present, the suburban railways bear nearly 40 per cent of the urban population in mass transit. Other modes like waterways can help in faster crowd dispersal. File pic

On November 7, the state government stated that they were serious about taking the IPWT project forward to reduce the load from the local trains that are packed beyond capacity every day. They claim that they are in the process of getting the project started. “Tenders have already been floated for this project, but we are scrutinising it further,” said Principal Secretary (Transport) S K Sharma.

The suburban railways are the city’s lifelines, ferrying people to different places in the metropolis. At present, the suburban railways bear nearly 40 per cent of the urban population in mass transit. In May this year, the Rs 1,355.5-crore IPWT project for both eastern and western shores, received clearance from the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).

However, since then, the government has dragged its feet in the matter. Officials added that after the scrutiny, the proposal would be sent to the cabinet committee on infrastructure, which is headed by the chief minister, and is the final nodal body for clearance. Various transport experts and nodal agencies working in planning feel that the expansion of mass transit through other modes can be the only means of faster crowd dispersal. They want Transit Oriented Development (TOD) for Mumbai, which also includes Metro railway and Monorail in the future.

According to the plans, hovercrafts, catamaran and roll-on roll-off services will start from Ferry Wharf and people will be able to get to Nerul in Navi Mumbai via this service. Passengers taking the roll-on roll-off services will be able to get to Mandwa near Alibaug, saving both time and fuel. The contract for the eastern coast has been sanctioned to J Kumar Foundation Associates for developing jetties at Ferry Wharf and Nerul, at the cost of Rs 308.28 crore. DBM-Supreme Infrastructure will develop Mandwa jetty at an expense of Rs 63.71 crore.

Connecting routes
East coast: Will connect Ferry Wharf (Bhaucha Dhakka) to Belapur, Nerul, Vashi and Mandwa, thus reducing the crowd from Harbour line trains.
West coast: Will connect Borivli to Nariman Point with six stops along the way: Nariman Point, Bandra, Juhu, Versova, Marve and Borivli.

Cost factor
Eastern side of IPWT: Rs 440.5 crore
Western side of IPWT: Rs 915 crore

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