The Mumbai Port Trust (MPT) has approved the establishment of floating restaurants and cruises next to two of Mumbai’s iconic sites – the Gateway of India and Girgaum Chowpatty. This is part of MPT’s plan to open up the eastern sea front of Mumbai which has so far been closed to the public. Sanjay Bhatia, Chairman, Mumbai Port Trust, said “It was minister Nitin Gadkari’s idea to open up the eastern sea front and have floating restaurants. It will give a new experience to Mumbai just like we have in the Western sea-side cities. The floating restaurant is part of our larger plan to open up the sea front which includes having international cruises and a marina. We have just granted two tenders to Delhi-based Shripriya Dalmia Thirani – one for the Gateway of India and the other for Girgaum Chowpatty. We have opened a third tender for another side of Gateway of India.” MPT officials say the license has been granted for a period of 15 years. The bid allows New Delhi-based Thirani to open a series of restaurants on the sea and also gives her rights to operate a cruise on the Arabian sea. Thirani’s ship is expected to hit the waters by early next year. MPT through this tender process is seeking a professionally competent licensee to deliver an international experience. Thirani is the granddaughter of Jai Dayal Dalmia, the co-founder of Dalmiya Cement and OCL India. The ship will have multiple restaurants with a minimum capacity of 125 seats. Thirani will be able to operate the ship and its restaurants round the clock, subject to relevant permission from all statutory authorities. The ship will have to be equipped with state of the art equipment for navigation, safety and pollution prevention. The Floating Restaurant (ship) may be operational throughout the year. The tender allows Thirani to run as many restaurants she wants on the ship and host events on board.
Speaking about security issues, Bhatia adds, “Most parts of the sea and the area around the Gateway of India is secured by the CISF. We also receive help to secure the waters from the Mumbai Police marine branch. We will take care of the security on the water. As far as security of the floating restaurants are concerned, it will be taken care of by the owners. Our harbour master controls the entire process – ensures that the private owners follow every mandated security required to run the restaurants”.
MbPT top brass added “Mumbai till now did not have any restaurants on the sea. It was minister Nitin Gadkari’s idea to open up the eastern sea front of Mumbai for locals and foreigners to have an unique experience. We have two routes – one around Gateway of India and Girgaum Chowpatty which have now been awarded to Ms Thirani. Another route is being planned close to the Gateway whose tender is under process.”
Thirani says, “Indians will no more have to travel to foreign destinations for a cruise over the best food and wine money can buy. The sea is synonymous to Mumbai but till now we didn’t have the chance to enjoy the views of Mumbai from it. We have always looked out into the sea rather than look into the sensational skyline from the sea. Not anymore. My ship will have decks that will each host a signature restaurant run by some of the world’s most renowned chefs who I am sourcing from far corners of the world. Clients will be able to enjoy a delicious meal – local, fusion and international cuisine while getting a 360 degree view of Mumbai.” Guests will not be allowed to stay on board overnight and the permission does not allow for the organizers to run a casino. According to MPT, the successful bidder will have to obtain a no objection certificate from the Indian Navy, Coast Guard, Mumbai Police as well as Maharashtra Pollution Control Board for operation of a restaurant in the harbour specifically with regard to marine pollution for the purpose of operation of the restaurant ship.