India first water taxi services between south Mumbai and the satellite city of Navi Mumbai were flagged off virtually by Chief Minister Uddhavy Thackeray and Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal this afternoon. The water taxies will bring down the travel time to 45 minutes from the earlier 90 minutes between Navi Mumbai area to mainland Mumbai.
Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated the Belapur jetty while Union Minister for Ports, Shipping and Waterways Sarbanand Sonowal flagged off the water taxi.
Both the Chief Minister and the Union Minister of Waterways underlined the importance of Centre-state cooperation to ensure that public infrastructure projects are completed on time.
Speaking at the event, Mr Sonowal said, “This is great moment for all of us. For this I pay my deep regards to the people of Maharashtra and the state government of Maharashtra.”
“The project has been successfully implemented by the Maharashtra Maritime Board with 50% of the costs borne by the state and 50% by the Centre. The completion of this project was achieved despite the Covid pandemic,” Mr Sonowal added.
Uddhav Thackeray also complimented the Minister by saying, “I want to thank you for giving Maharashtra priority.”
“Politics has it place but we should prioritise serving the public. I want to thank you for supporting us and I am sure that will happen in the future too. The Maharashtra government will not step back when it comes to projects of public convenience. If we are working for the public, you cooperate with us and we will cooperate with you,” Mr Thackeray said.
Three agencies were involved in the development of the project, the Mumbai Port Trust, Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) and CIDCO. While the port trust is a central agency, the other two are state government agencies. The cooperation between the state and centre has led to completion of the projects, according to the administration.
Construction of the Belapur Jetty in Navi Mumbai started in January 2019 and the project was completed late last year at a cost of Rs 8.37 crore. The jetty was built under the Sagarmala programme with equal funding by the Centre and state government.
Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar was also at the function along with the state Urban Development Minister Eknath Shinde.
Speaking at the inauguration, Mr Shinde said, “The Centre has contributed 50% and the state has contributed 50%. This will help the public a lot. This will save time and fuel and will also be comfortable. CIDCO has also built a jetty. We are looking at creating a loop around Mumbai when it comes to water transport.”
“I want to thank Sarbananda Sonowalji for expediting things after taking charge. I thank you for extending support for the project and helping the state government to complete the project,” he added.