Union Minister for Shipping Nitin Gadkari said on November 17 that the Mumbai metropolitan region needs innovative transport solutions, and invited investors to take part in Thane-Virar water transport project.
Gadkari inaugurated various projects of the Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) here including country's longest ropeway from Sewree in South Mumbai to Elephanta Island.
"I have already approved Rs 1,200 crore water transport project of Thane Municipal Corporation, from Thane to Virar -- Rs 600 crore in first phase and Rs 600 crore in second phase," he said.
"I invite investors to come forward to participate in this project," he added.
Both Thane and Virar lie in the north of Mumbai. Among other projects of the Port Trust which the minister inaugurated were floating restaurants and a Super Specialty hospital.
Gadkari said the government was not interested "in making only money".
"We are not interested in making only money, but we are also looking at social interest, national interest, for which we are looking at focusing on ecology, environment, (promoting) tourism in Mumbai by building parks, gardens and developing the waterfront that will help in increasing the city's stature and also the country's stature," he said.
The projects on MbPT land will draw tourists and will help reduce the pension burden of MbPT, Gadkari said.
"Our intention is not to sack workers, instead we are working to make provision for their pension. MbPT has Rs 700 crore pension burden. As tourism grows....it will generate huge revenue and become a big attraction for both people of Mumbai, of the country and foreign visitors," he said.
"Maharashtra government is constructing (new) the international airport in Navi Mumbai, so by using the coast of Mumbai, we are bringing in sea taxi, hovercraft...which can be used by people to save time and avoid traffic. You can reach the new airport in 13-14 minutes from south Mumbai (using water transport)," Gadkari said.