MSRDC tries to float waterways plan again
After failing on a few occasions to start inland water transport for Mumbai, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) has made yet another move to kickstart water transport for the eastern and western fronts. A few years ago, hovercraft services were available between Chowpatty and Juhu on the western front and Gateway of India to Vashi and Belapur in Navi Mumbai. A few experiments were conducted to provide hovercraft services till Mulund too. But the unorganised efforts of companies did not yield results. The MSRDC has been planning to shape up the proposal. Its last attempt was caught in a legal wrangle and the company shortlisted for the task was not financially viable. This time around, the MSRDC wants to formulate a concrete plan with all-weather crafts. As the MSRDC is seeking companies with good financial backgrounds, the officials have called for proposals with a deposit of Rs three crore for the western suburbs and Rs two crore for the eastern suburbs. The project will be implemented on Build Operate and Transfer basis. The companies will have to design, finance, construct, monitor, operate, maintain and transfer the project. The final proposals have to reach the MSRDC office by March 7, 2009. On the western front, the MSRDC wants to connect the central business district of Nariman Point with Gorai, with stoppages at Chowpatty, Bandra and Andheri. On the eastern side, the authorities plan to connect the Gateway of India with Navi Mumbai and Mulund. This will save travel time too. MSRDC’s founder-managing director R C Sinha who shaped the flyovers for the city said, “The corporation must study the proposal and its feasibility or it would turn into something like the Worli-Bandra project (where costs are increasing each month.)’’ The Maharashtra Maritime Board was to start the construction of jetties at Gorai, but this too has not been done. Corporation sources said they have the permission from the environment and forest ministry but the eastern front plan was yet to get the final nod. Following the terror attacks, the department of atomic energy is also likely to put forward its objections as the BARC falls en route.