Thursday, January 01, 2015

Fishermen criticize seaplane service, floating hotels

Mumbai : A city-based fishermen’s union has written to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis protesting against floating restaurants on the Arabian Sea and a proposed seaplane service ferrying tourists between Juhu and Girgaum, citing a security threat. The union also believes the two will adversely affect fishing activities.

India’s first sea plane service was launched between Mumbai and Lonavala in October this year by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) in collaboration with Maritime Energy Heli Air Services.

After a successful run, both the organizations conducted a trial landing at Girgaum chowpatty, following which there was an informal announcement of a seaplane service between Juhu and Girgaum beaches. Set to be a major tourist attraction, this service has drawn flak from the fishermen’s union.

“What if some terrorists come to Mumbai as tourists on the seaplane? They can easily target Raj Bhavan, Mantralaya, CST, Churchgate from there,” said a statement issued by the Maharashtra Fishermen’s Action Committee in a press conference held here on Wednesday.

Similarly, the union has criticized the multi-storeyed floating restaurants near the sea-link by a private enterprise called MWB international and another floating, three-star restaurant outside Raj Bhavan.

India’s first floating hotel was inaugurated by then Tourism Minister Chhagan Bhujbal in May this year.

The hotel, at Maritime Board Jetty near Bandra-Worli Sea Link, has a capacity of 660 passengers and provides a 360 degree view of Mumbai and the Arabian Sea.

“These floating restaurants post a threat to Mumbai’s security as well as may hit fishing activities on the Arabian Sea. The union strongly condemns it, and if this project is carried ahead, all fishermen will protest against it,” the statement further said.

The union has now demanded a probe into the funding of these private companies and also said that such floating hotels will not be affordable to the common man.

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