OVER a decade ago, National Geographic named the Kerala backwaters in India as a lifetime destination. Now, other regions in India are taking a leaf out the southern Indian state’s book.
Mumbai is particularly keen to transform the Marve-Manori-Garai coastline into a plush, evergreen waterway system that will entice tourists and ease congestion on local roads.
State education and guardian minister, Vinod Tawde announced the Maharashtra government plans to build a roll-on, roll-off (Ro-Ro) ferry service for the waterways. A foundation slab has already been laid at Marve, this will form the base for a jetty, supplying a stable platform for the ferry service.
To put into perspective just how essential this new waterway construction will be, the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB), has reported that the ferry will reduce the time from an hour, to a mere ten minutes to make the 37-kilometer journey.
Mumbai’s association of fishermen, known as the Gorai Machchimar Sahakari Sanstha, sought permission earlier this year to implement a tourist riverboat cruise service to take travelers through the enchanting mangroves.
The move to transform Marve-Manori-Gari into a tourist attraction that resembles the iconic backwaters of Kerala, will boost the tourism economy and hopefully bring positive attention to Mumbai, helping tourist see a different side to the enormous city. The development will also aid India’s overall predicted tourism economy growth of US$8 billion by 2020.
The Ro-Ro domestic and tourism ferry will travel on four routes around the backwaters, including Borivali to Gorai, Bhayander to Vasai, Versova, and Naringi in Virar to Kharwadashti, Tembhi Koadave in Palghar.
The ferry service is set to start operating in early May 2018. The once futile waters should bring a boost to the local economy and contribute to cutting transport emissions on the neighboring roads.