Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and Shipping Nitin J Gadkari said that the cruise tourism has the potential to generate Rs.35,500 crores of revenue in the next five years. He was present at “The Dawn Of Cruise Tourism in India” where he blamed the bureaucrats, media and few NGO’s who dragged projects to the court there by delaying the completion of various developmental projects.
“We have only five years, you have 58,” the minister said sarcastically who also added “We have to make decisions on such projects and get them up and running within five years,” pointing out at Maharashtra’s Chief Secretary Sumit Mullick; Sanjay Bhatia, chairman, Mumbai Port Trust; Rashmi Verma, secretary, minister of tourism, and Ravi Kant, secretary, shipping.
“Bureaucrats are responsible for delays, not ministers,” Gadkari said. He said that the cruise terminals will be constructed at five ports namely Mumbai, Goa, Manalore, Kochi and Chennai.
The mnister also mentioned his experience as the public works minister in Maharashtra between 1995 and 1999 when he successfully oversaw the completion of the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and 55 flyovers in Mumbai, each at a cost of Rs 1,500 crore (Rs 15 billion), but could not get the Bandra-Worli Sea Link done because of opposition to the project from local fishermen, environmentalists and court cases that led to escalation of costs by several thousand crore rupees when it was finally completed in June 2009.
He noted that the development of these ports would ensure jobs for thousands of youth in the employment industry. By quoting a report of Bermelo & Ajamil and Ernst & Young, Gadkari said, India’s cruise tourism would bring 4 million international tourists to India which is pegged at around 200,000 today.
“In the next 15 days we will begin construction of a Rs 300 crore (Rs 3 billion) cruise terminal in Mumbai with the provision to make three cruise liners dock at the same time in future. According to this report any international tourist visiting Mumbai via these cruise liners will have the potential to spend at least $100 and if 40 lakh tourists, each, were to spend this amount on an average in Mumbai, then just imagine the revenue potential of this project,” Gadkari said.