The City and Industrial Development Corporation (Cidco) is exploring water transport as an alternative option for connectivity to the proposed Navi Mumbai airport. If the project materialises, there could be hovercraft and catamaran services from Mumbai to the Navi Mumbai airport.
According to a Cidco official, it is yet to decide on giving direct or indirect connectivity to the airport. In case of indirect connectivity, Cidco is exploring two options: one is to extend the inland passenger water transport (IPWT) on eastern water front to Ulwe. Ulwe is around two kms from the NRI Complex water transport terminal at Nerul. The project is expected to connect Navi Mumbai with Mumbai apart from the existing rail and road contact.
Several years ago, water transport from Navi Mumbai to Mumbai had to be stopped due to denial of landing point by the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT). Cidco then shelved the project. The Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation (MSRDC) was later asked to execute the project. Currently, it has invited expressions of interest to revive the project that aims to connect Ferry Wharf to Nerul.
“There is no point in making heavy investments as MSRDC is executing the project. If the boat can come to Nerul, it can be brought further down to Ulwe as both areas are near the Panvel creek bridge area, which has enough depth,” said the official. “Places like Nerul and Belpaur had water connectivity when Cidco operated services from Navi Mumbai to Mumbai,” he added.
Another option being thought over is giving the loop services from the terminal point to the airport if the direct water connectivity to the airport is denied. “Lea Associates had submitted a report last month and they would be submitting a fresh report regarding connectivity to the Navi Mumbai airport by month-end. After the report, we can get a clear picture on how to have a water transport connectivity,” said Cidco vice-chairman and managing director Tanaji Satre.