The state government has, through the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB), set the ball rolling to make Mithi river easier to navigate.
The state government has, through the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB), set the ball rolling to make Mithi river easier to navigate. The MMB has plans to boost tourism by introducing boat rides in the river at the Bandra-Kurla Complex (BKC).
The authority has asked for a status report from the Mumbai Metropolitan Region Development Authority (MMRDA) and the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) that are involved in the process of desilting and dredging of Mithi river.
The state is also in the process of creating a master plan to make the river navigable that is in accordance to the National Waterways Bill.
According to MMB officials, cleaning the river and turning it and introducing rides into it would be a major concern for the authorities. The boating facility at the BKC would be a pilot project, said the officials. “Boating at Mithi will only be introduced for a short distance and it will be restricted within BKC. It is being planned with a tourism point of view and not as a mass transportation system,” said, Atul Patne, chief executive officer, MMB.
According to MMB officials, another reason for bringing in boat rides is because the navigable portion near BKC and Dharavi is too small to be turned into an economically feasible water transport system. Some of the major obstructs include the Mahim causeway and the Western Railway crossing near Bandra station where despite cleaning it, garbage is found strewn across the stretch. However, BKC being a commercial hub one can expect the boat ride to be feasible as joy rides, said officials.
The MMB expects the status report from the MMRDA and the BMC would help in identifying how much silt needs to be removed from the river to enable boats to be run in it.
The Mithi river had overflowed in 2006, causing a flood in the city. The BMC and the MMRDA have spent crores on cleaning the river to avoid a repeat of the incident. Chief minister Devendra Fadnavis during the BRICS cities conclave in April 2016 had announced that the government is roping in expertise from St Petersburg in Russia to clean the river as Russia has better experience in cleaning rivers and making them easier to navigate.