Maharashtra promotes sailing,water sports to increase tourism

Maharashtra promotes sailing,water sports to increase tourism

NAVI MUMBAI: Come October and one can go sailing at five different water fronts in the state. Maharashtra tourism development corporation (MTDC) and Maharashtra maritime board (MMB) have shortlisted five different locations as part of the Centre and state government initiative to promote water sports and tourism as part of the PM’s Sagarmala project.

With the locations having been identified, the next step was formation of local groups or clubs that would take up the training programme and avail the scheme. “Sailing is a fair weather sport and cannot be done during monsoon,” said Atul Kulkarni a city resident and a maritime expert, who is a consultant for Central govt associated with several international projects.

Kulkarni accompanied local BJP MLA, Manda Mhatre along with sailing experts to inspect the Belpaur jetty site Saturday morning. The BJP MLA said, “I had asked the union minister for road transport, highways and shipping, Nitin Gadkari to consider Belapur site among the others for training children as there is ambient condition for sailing as also local fisherfolk community could benefit.”

The scheme is largely aimed at creating more competitive sailors in the age group of 8-15 as part PM, Narendra Modi’s aim of excelling in international sporting events like Olympics and world sailing competition, said Atul Kulkarni, a city-based maritime consultant with the Central government associated with several international projects.

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As the funding can also be obtained from ministry of youth affairs besides sports ministry, the elders too can avail of learning sailing at a lower cost because the ministry categorises youth till 35 years of age. Funding can also be obtained from tribal ministry if the sailing spot is in a tribal area

Kulkarni told TOI, “MTDC has provided three spots on the Konkan coast— Kunkeshwar (Sindhudurg district), Ganpati Phule in Ratnagiri and Alibagh in Raigad district while MMB has allowed the training spot at Marwe, Mumbai and Belapur in the city.”

The Kunkehswar site requires checking of the wind speed, otherwise all the other four have ideal conditions. Sailing is managing the wind speed and it is important, and it should be less than 5 to 6 km per hour as these are small sailing boats for one person to be aboard for training.”

How does the scheme work out

Any local group like a club or organisation including any civic body that will impart the training to the children will have to provide 25% of the cost of boats while central government will provide 75 %. Ideally, a batch of 20 children can learn sailing for 3 to 5 hours per day that would require 6 designated sailing boats at a cost of Rs 10 lakh. The training fee can be Rs 5000 (around one fifth charged by private clubs) for meeting the operational expense of two trained sailors who would be aboard a rescue boat giving instructions.

Bigger boats for the youth would cost Rs 2.5 lakh each, but still training would be cheaper as the project has central funding (75%). Private clubs charge a high amount.