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Nitin Gadkari, the Union minister for transport, shipping and medium and small industries, on Friday laid stress on developing waterways for the coastal city, and said by the time the Navi Mumbai airport is ready, many can reach it using water taxis. "Like in Venice in Italy where people step out of their hotel and straight into a water taxi to go to the airport, once the Navi Mumbai international airport is ready, people from Kalyan, Vasai-Virar, Bhiwandi can take a water taxi instead of a motor taxi," he said. The minister, speaking after laying the foundation stone for the city's first mangrove park at Gorai, stressed the importance of mangroves for a coastal city like Mumbai and said the project will help not only help conserve the mangroves but also maintain the ecological balance. Local MLA and minister for higher and technical education Vinod Tawade, who played a key role in the park plan, said that mangroves will protect the city from dangers such as a tsunami. "In Mumbai, creeks mean garbage dump. These creeks are known as backwaters in Kerala on which its tourism is built. We want to try something similar in Maharashtra," he said. Gadkari backed him, saying that instead of releasing toxic waste into the sea, Mumbai should hire international experts in the field to manage its liquid and solid waste and convert it in wealth. "It can be used to develop the city," he said. Earlier, he rued that despite being the richest civic body in India, BMC was not able to keep Mumbai from being flooded every year. "I have heard that BMC has Rs 58,000 crore in fixed deposits and yet every year on TV we see Mumbai getting flooded and the roads going under," he said. After the Gorai programme, Gadkari attended BJP Rajya Sabha MP Narayan Rane’s book release and the inauguration of a solar parking facility at Bandra Reclamation. It will soon have a charging station for electric vehicles.
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