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Seaplane Landing In River Mandovi May be The Beginning of A New Tourism Activity

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Seaplane Landing in River Mandovi
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Over the weekend, Goa witnessed a sea-plane – a 15-seater DHC-6 Twin Otter aircraft – land in the waters of the River Mandovi. The seaplane’s arrival was received with much fanfare by curious onlookers, many of which were surprised by this sudden arrival. 

The plane, belonging to Maldivian Aero, was, however, in the state for just the night, and was making a forward journey to Gujarat to be a part of daily flights between the Narmada riverfront and the Statue of Unity in Kevadia from this month-end. PM Modi is expected to flag this trip off in Gujarat this weekend.  

Back in Goa, the state finally saw the first floating jetty at the Mandovi riverfront come to use for a sea-plane. The plane, which landed for an overnight half, made use of the floating jetty for its other technical purposes such as refueling.  

A Little Back History 

Goa has been a major tourist destination across the world, and before the pandemic put things off-track, the state was pretty much on course, with several new tourist attractions and other recreational facilities being launched. One is aware of the famous hot-air balloon rides that were started off in South Goa, followed by other such activities such as bungee jumping and parachute jumps aimed at providing an image of Goa as a tourist destination beyond just its plain beaches. 

This image surely has received a facelift, as several tourists – domestic and international at large – are now exploring more of Goa, within the rich hinterlands, and through other means.

Along the rivers of Goa, primarily along the river Mandovi, already dotted with off-shore casinos, a new type of attraction is aimed at being constructed. 

Floating jetties – in the first phase, four such jetties were planned to be constructed. As of now, just one – the site where the 15-seater Maldivian Aero parked this weekend – has been completed.

The three other sites identified for such jetties are at Campal, one at Old Goa, and the other along  the Charpora village. These were to be completed by June this year, however, the pandemic put plans off-track, and they are yet to be completed. 

What Makes These Jetties Special?

These floating jetties, as per information available from the government, are constructed using cement concrete and are environment friendly. They can be built in a very short time. 

The first floating jetting, now operational at the Mandovi riverfront, was inaugurated in February this year. It is the country’s first floating jetty.

These jetties are expected to be used for small cruise vessels and for tourism-related activities. After certain queries were raised from Old Goa residents earlier, the government has assured that these jetties are only for tourism and small vessels, and not for any cargo loading or off-loading works. 

All the construction of these jetties has been funded by the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) at a cost of Rs 10 crores. 

These jetties, constructed by the Marintek Infra Pvt Ltd, will look towards providing a major facelift to Goa’s tourism identity, as when this infrastructure is in place, the state could facilitate better inland connectivity through these means. 

As we saw over the weekend, sea-plane activities, such as short flight trips and tourism sight-seeing can also be accommodated at these floating jetties. 

With such exceptional facilities in place, the state could indeed receive a major facelift for tourism-related activities, and Goa may soon witness good and high-quality tourists visiting the state again. 

The concern, among stakeholders, does remain, that facilities like these, constructed at whopping costs, must also be managed well, and occasional infrastructure maintenance must be carried. 

If all goes well, and amenities are put in place in a well-organized manner, Goa’s river Mandovi may receive a much-needed fresh image, with cruise vessels, short boat trips, along with some sea-planes providing exceptional services to Goa’s tourism activities. 

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