There are also plans to use a third, under-construction fishing jetty near Vashi’s Wockhardt Hospital for the purpose. NMMC additional commissioner Ankush Chavan Saturday told TOI: “We have got the NOC from Maharashtra Maritime board for inland waterways operation from Vashi and Belapur. We plan to issue a tender in the coming week to appoint a consultant to conduct an economic feasibility report for the project. We may also consider operating the service or select a partner on a revenue-sharing basis, but it all depends on the report.” The ticket cost will be worked out later.
NMMT, the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation’s transport wing, has been tasked with floating the tender as it is responsible for both road and waterways transport. The civic body has kept aside Rs 10 crore of its budgetary allocation for the project.
Chavan said the objective is to decongest roads and reduce vehicular pollution. The boat service will benefit commuters greatly, he promised.
In the mid-1990s, Navi Mumbai had a hovercraft service from Sagar Vihar jetty to south Mumbai. Currently, the city has a boat service from Uran for south Mumbai as well as a private service for Elephanta Caves.
The feasibility report will study the current scenario and also look at the profitability and passenger count as NMMC faces competition from Cidco, which has lined up a bigger passenger terminus project at Nerul. The Cidco ferry is likely to be larger with extra space for transporting vehicles.
Chavan said they undertook a ride that took 35 minutes from Belapur to Bhaucha Dhakka. “It would be another five more minutes to the Gateway. As for Vashi the overall time would be lesser by five minutes.”
The civic body is looking at operating 60 seat AC boats. The service can be combined with ferrying tourists from SoBo to the tourist site and return with passengers to the city. It would take some 10 minutes more. Similarly, for the run from the city via Elephanta. There could be exclusive rides of city dwellers to the popular tourist site too.The various transportation options and economics of cost and revenue would be worked out by the consultant, Chavan said.
The existing jetties in Belapur, sector 15 and at Sagar Vihar , Vashi will come handy for starting the operations.