Bottom Line: As the plans for Mumbai getting this new mode of commute in form of waterways is now more or less final, the built environment of city real estate is evaluating its own cost & benefit with the new development.
However, in Mumbai the choice is not between âwhether or notâ anymore but between âhow to do it and how fast it can be doneâ. After all, the load on Mumbai roadways and the resultant traffic snarls suggest that the only alternative, viable and effective transport in the city could be with waterways.
As a matter of fact, the plan is not just for the waterways but going beyond it to ease the city transport with Roll-On Roll-Off (Ro-Ro) ferry based connectivity. 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.
Waterways RORO ferry service is being conceived as smart transport solution in Mumbai
From Mumbai through Alibaug and beyond, in the Konkan Region, water linkages over the years have been restricted to passenger ferry services
The sea-based Ro-Ro services would start from 2018
Waterways transport would link the triangle formed by New Bhaucha Dhakka in South Mumbai; Nerul in Navi Mumbai and Mandwa, near AlibaugÂ Â
The Chief Minister has said that the provision in this regard had been made in the new ports policy, which apart from ferries, also mentions catamaran and hovercraft services.Â Once this project being completed as per schedule, connectivity between South Mumbai and Alibaug will translate into a few minutes across the sea.
Needless to say, it will not just reduce the travel time, but also bring many far off locations closer to the main city of Mumbai. From Mumbai through Alibaug and beyond, in the Konkan Region, water linkages over the years have been restricted to passenger ferry services 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 now a far off location like Alibaug.
The 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 regionâs development as also the stateâs economy a fillip.
Analysts believe that Navi Mumbai and Panvel along with Alibaug have the 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.
However, Vijay B Pawar, Director,Â MiradorÂ Dwellers asserts that the waterways will change the dynamics to a certain extent but not to an extent where it alters them completely. People residing or working in Mumbai still prefer Mumbai only as their first choice of residence whenever presented by one. Alibaug still has a lot of distance to cover to eventually compete with Mumbai aggressively.
âOne major concern which dampens the spirit of those who do think of making a move to Alibaug and travel every day using the waterways to and fro their workplace in Mumbai is the fact that the waterways transport is yet to develop and reach a stage where people can use it to travel effortlessly and fearlessly even during monsoons,â says Pawar.
Parth Mehta, Managing Director, Paradigm Realty nevertheless believes with the entry of a new mode of transport coming in the form of waterways, Alibaug Region is all set to witness a huge inflow of developers from Mumbai and across who would be developing luxury projects creating huge influx of visitors from the city who prefer Alibaug for leisure and would not mind investing in weekend or second homes.
âAlibaug is located just a few hourâs drive from Mumbai, and once the Ro-Ro ferry starts operating between South Mumbai (SoBo) and Alibaug, it will become even closer. Navi Mumbai and Panvel will benefit the most out of this development as new economic zones would be set up there due to its proximity to the port, this would be in turn decongest Mumbai. Also people who work in South Mumbai specifically in areas like Churchgate, Colaba etc and are looking to buy affordable projects can consider Alibaug as an option making it very convenient for them to travel to and fro creating a great opportunity for developers to encash in,â says Mehta.
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 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 â while ensuring that Alibaug benefits from enhanced connectivity to South Mumbai.