The first phase of the 50km inland water transportconnecting Thane, Kalyan and Vasai could be made operational by December 2018, providing relief to lakhs of road and rail commuters in the Mumbai metropolitan region.
The announcement was made by Thane municipal commissioner Sanjeev Jaiswal on Monday after a meeting with representatives from various agencies, including Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) and JNPT, that are likely to be involved in implementing the ambitious project.
The Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) has prepared a detailed project report which is likely to be soon presented before Union minister for transport and waterways Nitin Gadkari. “If all approvals and logistics support fall in place, TMC, which is implementing the project, will flag off the first batch of passenger boats through the Thane creek water mode of transport by December. The funding for the first phase of the project is over Rs 600 crore and will entirely be borne by the Centre,” said Jaiswal.
The project is likely to be executed in three phases, with the first one comprising Kalyan-Vasai-Bhayender route via Thane. The route, as per the initial plan, will have about nine stopovers in either directions at Vasai fort, Jesal Park at Mira Bhayander, Ghodbunder, Naglabunder, Kalher Bhiwandi, Parsik Retibunder, Anjur Dive, Dombivli and Kalyan and with Kolshet to be transformed into a multi-modal hub. The first phase will have only passenger boats, while a roll-on roll-off facility and freight could be added later, said an official.
The project will not just provide an alternative transport and reduce commute time and costs, it will transform the “back-of-beyond suburban metros into new development hubs with improved connectivity”, said Vikram Kumar, CEO at MMB.