Now that it’s getting ready for elections, Mumbai is getting a whole lot of love. First, the government watered down a hike in train fares to ensure commuters do not spurn the BJP and its ally, the Shiv Sena, in the assembly election, expected in the next few months.
Now, permissions have been received from the shipping and defence ministries for commercial sea planes to fly people from Juhu in the western suburban of the city to Girgaum Chowpatty in South Mumbai. A ticket in a plane that seats four or seven will cost Rs. 850.
The new service should launch by Diwali, said Nitin Gadkari, a top leader of the BJP from Maharashtra and Union Transport Minister.
In February, commercial sea plane services were launched between Mumbai and Lonavala’s Aamby Valley hill station with the 100-km-long flight taking about 25 minutes, a fourth of the time it takes for a road journey. The Maharashtra government had then said it was waiting for clearances for sea-plane flights between South Mumbai and the suburbs.
The BJP, which swept the national election last month, is auditioning along with the Sena to form the new Maharashtra government. The alliance was voted out in 1999, but the incumbent coalition between Sharad Pawar’s NCP and the Congress was pulverized in thr Lok Sabha elections, winning just six of the state’s 48 parliamentary seats.