Mumbai: Water taxi project yet to start, minister Sonowal likely to inaugurate service

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MUMBAIKERS will have to wait some more to use the much-awaited water taxi service from Mumbai to Navi Mumbai as the project is yet to be inaugurated after its completion. Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi was to inaugurate the service during his visit in the first week of January but it could not happen after a spike in Covid cases in the state.

Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) officials are yet to announce a new date for starting of services. After pressure from the state government, the MbPT is planning to request Union Shipping minister Sarbananda Sonowal to inaugurate the service. “There is pressure from the state government to open the services. The shipping minister has orally agreed to flag off the services by the second week of February. We are yet to get a written communication,’’ said a senior officer of the Mumbai Port Trust.

Maharashtra Port Minister Aslam Shaikh said, “The Port Trust will let us know in a couple of days when the likely inauguration will take place.’’

The water taxi, which will cut the commute time between Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, was first planned three decades ago. It was taken up seriously over the last few years as part of the Centre’s inland waterways initiative. One central and two state agencies — the Mumbai Port Trust, Maharashtra Maritime Board and CIDCO — worked in tandem on the project. MbPT constructed the Domestic Cruise Terminal at Ferry Wharf in Mumbai, and CIDCO is giving finishing touches to the terminals at Belapur and Nerul in Navi Mumbai.

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