The Maharashtra government may close all five jetty facilities at the Gateway of India and construct two new jetties near Radio Club. The proposal came after an intelligence tip-off from British agencies of plans to target the Gateway and Elephanta caves.
The 26/11 Mumbai attackers had come via sea and one of their targets was the Taj Mahal hotel facing the Gateway.
The five jetties include jetty No 1, used exclusively by the Atomic Research Centre, which is already closed along with jetty 4, behind the Gateway as well as jetty 5, exclusively used by the Royal Bombay Yacht Club, close to the Taj.
Ferries to weekend destinations like Alibaug, Mandwa and Rewas operate from the Gateway jetties. Cruises also operate from the Gateway.
A senior Secretariat official told DNA, “Jetty 2 and 3 are operational, where trawlers and speed boats anchor. At a meeting with central and state level agencies last week, it was decided that sea traffic could be diverted to the jetty off Radio Club, at the extreme end of the road, in front of the Taj.”
The official added that Rs350 crore from the emergency fund will be sanctioned to create the two jetties adjacent to the Radio Club jetty.
The official said proper marina would be created at the Radio Club end to facilitate setting up of the new jetties, each of which will be able to handle 200 boats.
The new jetties will boast of state-of-the-art facilities, including a flood plaza, the official said.
Another decision taken at the meeting was to cordon off the stretch of road in front of the Taj. Vehicular movement along this stretch may be banned, keeping in view long-term security aspects.
Nawab Malik, Guardian Minister, Mumbai had said on Tuesday that CCTV and other electronic surveillance will monitor crowds to protect the Gateway. “We have had a discussion with the maritime department and the chief secretary to develop this into an area with an international feel to it,” he had said.