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25 Aug 2017
Maritime Board plans to start sea plane service in a year
Credit : TSO Bureau

" The Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) has chalked out a plan to make the Sea Plane Project operational within a year. The plan is to make the city a nodal centre and link it with Shegaon, Tadoba, Koradi and five more locations. Along with tourism, the project aims to facilitate joyrides, emergency services, charter plane services, etc. Chief executive officer of MMB Atul Patne told TOI the project could be launched by March or April next year, if there is a good response from sea plane operators. ""MMB has floated expression of interest inviting applications from private operators on August 19. Inquiries are coming from some reputed private operators. We are hopeful of a good response from private operators as this will be the first of its kind in the entire nation,"" he said. MMB has planned the project and is taking all efforts for its success following directives of union minister for road transport, highways and shipping Nitin Gadkari. Therefore, MMB has proposed the project first from the city. Patne said the plan is to launch sea plane services from city to three tourism locations — Shegaon, Tadoba and Koradi. ""Nagpur Improvement Trust has been appointed as nodal agency for developing Seaports at Ambazari Lake, Irai dam near Tadoba, and Koradi lake. Similar seaport will be developed in a dam near Shegaon. NIT is planning to execute memorandum of understanding with Maharashtra Airport Development Corporation (MADC), Mahagenco (controller of Koradi Lake and Irai dam), Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) and other departments. Support of several departments is required to make the project feasible and successful,"" he said. As per MMB's expression of interest, it will develop all infrastructure for the project. The operators will have to just operate the sea planes. Also, MMB has offered operators central government schemes like Regional Connectivity Scheme/Udaan to make the project viable. The operators will have to take clearance from Directorate General of Civil Aviation, which is a major requirement for the project. Patne added the sea plane may be of 8-14 seating capacity. ""We are also planning to permit operators to utilize sea planes for joyrides, emergency services, travel in the form of charter plane services etc, to make the project viable."" NIT chairman Deepak Mhaisekar along with MTDC managing director Vijay Waghmare held meeting with owners of hotels, tours and travel companies on Tuesday seeking their support for the project's execution. Representatives of these fields were delighted with the project, and said it could boost tourism in Vidarbha and also save time and cost for tourists. Private operator MEHR, in association with MTDC, had conducted trial of sea plane from city to Khindsi on November 15, 2014, but could not begin services. "
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