Union surface transport minister Nitin Gadkari on Thursday said that Bombay Port Trust (BPT) would be developed as a “green lung” of Mumbai to decongest south Mumbai. He said that overland traffic of goods like coal and iron ore will be shifted from Mumbai to an alternative soon-to-be-developed port in Konkan while BPT would confine its activities to underground terminals handling liquid consignment like oils etc that generate 56 per cent of the revenue.
“The Centre and the state have taken the decision to get rid of illegal encroachments on BPT land. There is a plan to build an international standard convention centre and beautify the area with greenery and parks that could become tourist attraction spots,” said Gadkari.
He said the government will not hand over even Re 1 land to private developers.
Among other policy initiatives announced for the development of Mumbai included setting up of a helipad at Nariman Point to facilitate VVIP movements through air, and avoiding traffic jams in the financial capital. Two floatel complete with five and seven-star facilities are also high on government’s agenda.
He said Mumbai’s waterways have not been exploited despite their huge potential. “I am of the view that any private player who is interested in waterways should be given a generous concession to develop the projects.” Gadkari said indicating imposition of heavy taxes on catamarans and ships that have to be procured from abroad.
He also pushed for shifting to ethanol-based fuel to cut pollution. “The BEST-run buses in Mumbai can gradually shift to ethanol replacing diesel and petrol,” he said.