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Navi Mumbai, not Mandwa, may see first-ever marina in state

January 2016

Two-in-one - These facilities for anchoring and mooring boats can also serve as tourist spots

The state’s plans for its first-ever marina have been tweaked slightly. The second such project in the country after the Kochi International marina in Kerala - the only operational marina in India - may not necessarily come up at its proposed site at Mandwa. But, Navi Mumbai is likely to see it soon.

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“We are flexible on the location,” a senior official from the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB), which is implementing the project, told dna. The original site was proposed on the waterway between Rewas and Mandwa. This was to be in proximity with the water transport project terminal at Mandwa, which will be part of the east coast water transport project which will operate from two more nodes – Ferry Wharf and Nerul apart from Mandwa.

The marina was to be designed in such a way that space on the leeward side of the breakwaters to be constructed for the water transport project was to be used for it. The marina, which was supposed to be bigger than the one at Kochi, requires the presence of sheltered waters.

Marinas, which have facilities for sheltered anchoring and mooring for speed boats, luxury boats and yachts, can also serve as tourist spots, shopping and leisure destinations. The proposed marinas at Mandwa in Raigad and Belapur in Navi Mumbai will help decongest the present anchorage near the Gateway of India, which is also a security threat considering the proximity with defence establishments.

“We are trying to give an extension to the bids (for developing the marina),” said the MMB official, adding that they would be “flexible on the location” and were “open to the marina being set up anywhere else... (including the) west coast of Mumbai.” The official added that the bids had not received any response and would be extended for another month.

“One of the issues is that the marina also needs back-up land near the sea for its development. If a bidder has land elsewhere on the coast, he can bid for the project,” the official said, adding that some potential bidders were also interested in tying up with international players.

However, considering the business prospects, the bidders were likely to locate a site close to Mumbai and in the larger Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR) considering the access to the Mumbai harbour. Moreover, the MMB is not proposing a revenue sharing model, which will serve as a sweetener for the developers.

Apart from helping the uber-wealthy anchoring their vessels, these facilities, which are being planned near the proposed terminals for the east coast water transport project, will also serve as tourist destinations. They will also boost economic activity by creating opportunities for ancillary businesses like ship repair and maintenance facilities, boost the luxury yacht business and promoting cruise tourism.

Despite being a coastal state with two major ports – the Mumbai Port Trust and Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust – Maharashtra has not exploited the potential of its 720-km coastline to the optimum in terms of developing facilities like ports, marinas and captive jetties. This is despite of attempts made in past by agencies like MbPT, which had planned marinas at sites like Ferry Wharf and the Princess and Victoria Docks, which have come a cropper.

“Marina will be there at Belapur, there aren’t any changes made. We had prepared four models of marina and frozen the designs last year and are also done with the development plan. This year there will be a lot of progress on having marina at Belapur,” said V Radha, joint MD of CIDCO. MMB had also short-listed sites at Vasai, Dharamtar and Malad creeks for marinas.


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