The Inland Water Transport (IWT) scheme using the Thane creek is moving forward with six municipal corporations likely to form a consortium soon to set up jetties for the project which will come in the near future. The six municipal corporations would enter into an agreement with the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB).
The consortium would ensure smooth flow of contract works and inter-city transport services.
The six municipal corporations which would come together for setting up the internal water transport include Kalyan-Dombivali, Navi Mumbai, Vasai-Virar, Mira-Bhayandar, Bhiwandi-Nizampur and Ulhasnagar.
“A proposal would be submitted by maritime board to the government for obtaining financial assistance for the IWT project, seeking 50 percent funding by either central or state governments. The remaining 50 percent would be funded by respective municipal corporations for the infrastructure works in their area,” said an MMB official.
According to TMC officials, around eight jetties would be constructed at places like Mira-Bhayandar, Vasai-Virar, Saket (Thane), Kolshet (Thane), Godbundar (Thane), Diva, Bhiwandi and Kalyan.
Based on the location, travel pattern and movement in Mumbai Metropolitan Region, the suitable model for Thane is Ro-Ro Pax Model.
The required clearance from the river bed is sufficient for a Ro-Ro passenger ferry to manoeuvre in the creek waters. Ro-Ro pax model is a type of ferry which could accommodate upto 210 passengers and 50 passenger cars.
The Ro-Ro ships are vessels designed to carry wheeled cargo such as automobiles, trucks, rail-road cars that are driven on and off the ship which will be used in Thane and inter-connected to other areas also.
“Further surveys have to be conducted to ensure that the water depth to which a ship is immersed in a given condition of load is maintained in all the seasons,” added a TMC official.
The presence of dense tidal river, creek and coastal network offers viability of Inland Water Transport in Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) from Thane.
With the presence of 35 creeks and rivers in Maharashtra spread across a 720-km long coastline, the state government had recognized the importance of Inland Water Transport (IWT).
An MMB official said, “We are yet to submit the proposal to the government in this regards. After TMC conducted a feasibility study, the conceptual plan was submitted to the Ministry of Shipping. The TMC is currently in process of preparing a Detailed Project Report (DPR) after an in-principle approval was given by the ministry.”
“The total project costs for bringing about an IWT at Thane creek would be approximately 350 crores,” added an MMB official.
Several stakeholders which include Thane Municipal transport, Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA), Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB), Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways and Ministry of Environment and Forests would work together in close accordance with IWT team, added an MMB official.