Mumbai Gets a New Mode of Commute, Waterways will be Game-changers – Dr Niranjan Hiranandani
“Leisure, if defined as absence of ‘work’, in terms of Real Estate developments translates into the segment of weekend or second homes where one relaxes and it is leisure – i.e. residential, not being the ‘first home’,” said Dr Niranjan Hiranandani, CMD, Hiranandani Communities and Founder and First President, NAREDCO Maharashtra. “After success in the mixed-use integrated townships in locations like Powai, Thane and Panvel; now it is time to go beyond ‘walk to work and walk back home’. So, we have taken all the positives of integrated townships, added on a new theme – leisure – and like our previous projects, we will make this a success too,” he added.
The success of any leisure themed project depends upon smooth connectivity, and the new waterways are all set to make Mumbai’s connecting to Alibaug a breeze. Alibaug offers everything that the prominent leisure destination on India’s west coast, Goa has: sun, sand and the sea. It is located just a few hour’s drive from Mumbai, and once the Ro-Ro ferry starts operations between South Mumbai (SoBo) and Alibaug, it will become even closer.
From Mumbai through Alibaug and beyond, in the Konkan Region, water linkages over the years have been restricted to passenger ferry services based on launches – but things are all set to change. Catamarans and Ferries along with new jetties and road connectivity will provide Mumbai and its neighbouring coastal areas with Ro-Ro ferry based connectivity, and water transport will be the infrastructure linkage that will ensure connectivity between South Mumbai and Alibaug.
Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis recently announced that sea-based Ro-Ro services would link South Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Alibaug; and that the services would start by end-2018. He added that the provision in this regard had been made in the new ports policy, which apart from ferries, also mentions catamaran and hovercraft services. Once this project being completed as per schedule, connectivity between South Mumbai and Alibaug will translate into a few minutes across the sea.
Navi Mumbai and Panvel along with Alibaug have potential to develop into an economic powerhouse, and this sort of connectivity will provide a fillip to the positives that the Navi Mumbai Airport will bring to the region.
The game changers facilitating this are two entities that are steadily revolutionizing the way Mumbaikars will live and travel, a few months down the line. The entities – Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) and Mumbai Maritime Board (MMB) – are both working towards decongesting Mumbai city and make life every Mumbaiite wishes of using waterways for commuting to work a reality.
The Maharashtra Chief Minister has mentioned that sea-based Ro-Ro services would start from 2018, and would link the triangle formed by New Bhaucha Dhakka in South Mumbai; Nerul in Navi Mumbai and Mandwa, near Alibaug. The Mumbai Port Trust is building a terminal at New Bhaucha Dhakka; CIDCO is similarly building a terminal at Nerul, while the Maharashtra Maritime Board is doing the same at Mandwa. In terms of enhanced connectivity, for a coastal city like Mumbai, the sea-based Ro-Ro services for connectivity to Mandwa would be an apt option, rather than the long, circuitous drive from SoBo via Sion and Panvel.
From the perspective of connectivity between South Mumbai and Alibaug, the Ro-Ro ferry would be ideal; Mumbaikars could drive onto the Ro-Ro ferries at the New Ferry Wharf and a short sail later, drive off at Mandwa, bringing the hinterland of Alibaug closer to Mumbaikars. Better connectivity will result in higher tourism, giving the region’s development as also the state’s economy a fillip. It is not just leisure and tourism which will get a fillip; water-based transport linkages like the Ro-Ro would also result in better connectivity between Mumbai and other destinations in the Konkan region, through Mandwa/ Alibaug. The Maharashtra Chief Minister has also mentioned that water transport linking South Mumbai with Nerul will enhance connectivity with the Navi Mumbai airport.
Infrastructure growth in form of better connectivity through waterways, which includes new jetties, ferries and road linkages, will help develop coastal areas in Maharashtra from the economic perspective, while also giving a fillip to tourism development. This has the potential to create new development hubs in the Konkan region – while ensuring that Alibaug benefits from enhanced connectivity to South Mumbai.
Niranjan Hiranandani is Founder & MD, Hiranandani Group, his recent initiative is Hiranandani Communities. He is the Founder and First President (Maharashtra), National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO), which works under the aegis of Ministry of Housing & Urban Poverty Alleviation, Government of India.