In a welcome news for Mumbaikars looking to enjoy some water sports this summer, the Maharashtra Maritime Board (MMB) has started water-based rides at Juhu beach.
In the past, people from Mumbai had to travel to other beach destinations like Goa to avail such rides.
To begin with, four rides – Banana Ride, Jet Ski, Bumper Ride and Flying Fish – have been started. Rides like Banana Ride, Sofa Ride, and Flying Fish cost Rs 200, while the Jet Ski costs Rs 300.
Those travelling with a large group of friends or family can avail of any three or five rides at Rs 600 or Rs 1,000 respectively.
The water sports were started last Wednesday, with over 150 persons taking the rides on the first day itself.
MMB is confident that activity will be received positively by both locals and tourists and expects to sell over 500 rides daily as more people come to know about them.
The activities will continue till May 25, before the arrival of monsoon, and resume it around the Diwali vacation period.
Some activists raised eyebrows over the decision to start water sports at Juhu beach, which in the past has had a reputation for being unclean and lacking the required infrastructure to sustain the number of tourists it attracts.
The Maritime Board, however, dismissed the concerns stating that the water was clean for such activities and necessary infrastructure has been set up prior to starting the water sports.
The authority has roped in Sailing Bay Water Sports Pvt Ltd to run and manage the water sports.
Incidentally, this is not the first time water sports has been started in Mumbai.
Nearly two decades back, Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation (MTDC) had contracted H2O to offer water sports at Girgaum Chowpatty. However, the rides were discontinued a few years back after a dispute between H2O and MTDC.
Maharashtra, despite having a 720 km coastline and attracting over 7 crore domestic and foreign tourists every year, earns dismal revenues from tourism, partly due to the lack of water sports-related activities.
To address this, the MMB formulated the Maharashtra Water Sports Policy 2015, which is aimed at boosting revenue from such activities and regulating them.
Under the policy, it invited proposals for water sports at 45 locations in the state, including Juhu, last year.