Beach Hopping through Konkan ferry service soon

Beach-hopping could soon become a trend across Konkan as the government of Maharashtra has decided to develop tourist jetties in order to boost the development of coastal tourism infrastructure. Some of the locations identified for the project include — Kashid; Diveagar, (Raigad district); Underi (in the Mumbai harbour); Vengurla; Vijaydurg (Sindhudurg); Suvarnadurg; Bhatye; Purnagad, (Ratnagiri), Durgadi (near Kalyan) and Belapur in Navi Mumbai.

The project will also boost the hospitality industry and tourism development in nearby areas. "This can be used for boat cruises and water transport. We are collaborating with the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC). The MMB will construct these jetties with funding from the Sagarmala Project," said Vikram Kumar, CEO, Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB). Kumar said that with timely approvals, work on the project was likely to begin in October.

"Each jetty is expected to cost between Rs 8 to 10 crore and each site will get a jetty and terminal building. Some sites have been approved while permissions for remaining locations is under consideration," said an official. "These locations could also be used for water sports, docking houseboats, boating and passenger transport."

The project also covers areas around forts like Vijaydurg and locations like Diveagar, — popular tourist destinations. Private operators can also use these jetties to launch water-based tourist services.

Maharashtra has a 720-km coastline, including 114 km in Mumbai, 127 km in Thane and Palghar, 122 km in Raigad, 237 km in Ratnagiri and 120 km in Sindhudurg. The state also has two major ports namely — Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) and the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT).

However, it has not explored the potential of its coastline in terms of developing facilities like passenger water transport ports, marinas and captive jetties. It has only a few operational RoRo services like Dabhol-Dhopawe in the Dabhol creek, Dighi-Agardanda (Rajpuri creek), Jaigad- Tavsal (Jaigad creek) and Vesavi-Bangmandla (Bankot creek).

Courtesy: DNA

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