Mumbai, November 10: Soon your Mumbai-Goa travel will be congestion free as the much-awaited ferry service is all set to launch next month.  The ferry services between Goa and Mumbai will begin by the first week of December, 13 years after the ferry service between the two states were stopped operating in 2004. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari earlier this week announced that the ferry will depart from Ferry Wharf in South Mumbai and travel to Panjim in Goa via Vengurla, Malvan and Ratnagiri along the scenic Konkan coast. The minister also said, hotels and other tourist facilities have been requested to construct floating jetties to facilitate ferrying tourists to their resorts. “While cruise lines will reduce pollution, tourists will enjoy the experience (of travelling by inland waterways),” Gadkari said, adding that if the project proved successful, more waterways for ferry services would be developed.

The Mumbai-Goa ferry will be flagged off in the first week of December under the Sagar Mala project. The service was operational till 1980s. The mid-60s and 70s saw the Konkan Shakti and the Konkan Sevak dominating this route. One sailed from Goa to Mumbai, while the other carried passengers from Mumbai to Goa. Reports state that these two vessels were co-opted for use during the Sri Lanka war and no longer sailed on this route. Soon after, a hovercraft service was initiated, which saw a good run till 1994.

The Sagarmala Project is a strategic initiative of the government to modernize India’s Ports. Reports state that it would lead to logistics cost saving of Rs 40,000 crore per annum by 2025.  At present, 289 projects are in various stages of implementation under Sagar Mala and likely to cost around 2.17 lakh crore overall. Out of the total amount, Rs 601 crore has already been released for the year 2017-18. The Sagarmala project is also expected to create 10 million jobs. With the launch of the ferry service next month, Mumbaikars will soon be able to take a congestion-free route to reach their Goa.