In the next two years, a ferry service across the sea will make travelling along Mumbai’s west coast a lot quicker.
The Ro-Ro (roll-on roll-off ) water transport service at four spots — Marve to Manori, Borivli to Gorai, Bhayander to Vasai and Virar to Palghar — that will let you ferry your cars over the sea is expected to cut down travel time from up to two hours hour to less than 10 minutes (see box).
A Rs90-crore Ro-Ro plan, proposed by the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB), got a green nod last week from the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA).
“After the Maharashtra Coastal Zone Management Authority (MCZMA) gave us the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) clearances for the entire project in July, we studied the environment impact and found the four projects will reduce travel time and vehicular pollution,” said a senior official from SEIAA.
“While work on three of the four routes can start, minor aspects on the Borivli-Gorai route are yet to be studied,” the official said.
The Ro-Ros will expand Mumbai’s water transport system substantially, said experts. This is the first such project proposed for the west coast. It can transport 50 passengers and 10 cars on either side, officials said. So far, citizens could only ferry two-wheelers between Versova and Madh and Manori and Marwe.
“This project will be a new chapter in the water transport story of Maharashtra,” said Atul Patne, the chief executive officer of the MMB. Patne said the ferry service will not only help citizens save money, but also bring down congestion on roads and cut pollution.
“There are three main aspects of the project – reduction in traffic congestion, drop in pollution and reduction in time taken to travel these distances. From distances that were two hours apart, now the time taken will be a maximum of 10-12 minutes,” Patne said.
The Marve-Manori project is expected to be ready by mid-2018, while the other will be completed by early 2019, Patne said. According to the MMB, at least two crore people in Maharashtra use Ro-Ros but only a handful of routes provide the facility to ferry two-wheelers.
The SEIAA has also approved a proposal to revamp all eight jetties. MMB officials said the work has begun.
“We will be issuing tenders this week for the project and will hire contractors to ferry medium-sized boats that can carry the estimated capacity of cars and people,” said an MMB official, in-charge of the project. “While the cost for each four-wheeler is still being worked out, we estimate the fare for two-wheelers and SUVs to be between Rs250 – Rs400.”
Last year, chief minister Devendra Fadnavis told the state assembly that Ro-Ro services would link south Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Alibaug and services would start by end of 2018.
MMB officials said work for the Rs150-crore Ro-Ro services between Ferry Wharf (Bhaucha Dhakka) and Mandwa in Raigad district along Mumbai’s east coast, is 50% done. “While the work is being jointly carried out with the Mumbai Port Trust, the jetty at Mandwa has been revamped and the project should be completed by May 2018,” the MMB official said.