The plan to inaugurate the Kanhoji Angre Island for tourists from April end has been postponed amidst the surge in COVID-19 cases in Maharashtra and Mumbai. The said island is just 23km south of the Gateway of India. The Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT) is currently busy completing the conservation, restoration and improvement work of the said island so it can gain tourist attraction.
According to an official, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other ministers and dignitaries were supposed to be invited for the inaugural function. However, the plan has been kept on hold for some time.
Meanwhile, MbPT has also sent a list of operators to the union government, who will provide various types of services to tourists at Kanhoji Angre Island once open. The official said, the list will get clearance from the Defence Ministry, External Affairs Ministry and Home Ministry and only after that further operation will be carried out.
The island will have accommodations for tourists, for which makeshift resorts and restaurants will be set up. At present, no permanent structure can be raised here, due to the coastal regulation zone (CRZ) buffer zone restriction. As per the CRZ norm, no new construction can be carried out within 500 metres of the high tide line. Since Kanhoji Angre is a small island, a proposal to reduce the buffer zone has been made. Till then, temporary arrangements for tourists will be available, added the MbPT official.
Reportedly, the Kanhoji Angre Island has a historical significance. It has a fort built by the Portuguese, which was occupied by the Marathas to lodge their Army and Navy. Kanhoji Angre was an admiral of the Maratha Navy, who created a base on this island. The battlements and fortifications of Shivaji Maharaj’s times are still intact and can be seen here. Since this island has a lot of historical importance, tourism development activities have been undertaken to create awareness.