LIFESTYLE: It will house around 50 yachts and will be the world's only marina with a golf course. Ever wondered where Vijay Mallya, the proud owner of three luxury yachts, docks his boats? Not in India, for sure, as India does not yet have a marina for private yachts. But he may soon reconsider. The foundation stone for the country's first full-fledged marina, to house around 50 yachts, was laid at Bolgatty Island in Kochi on March 1 by Kerala Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan. It will also be the world's only marina with a golf course. Next in line seems to be the Mumbai-Goa coastline, which is 7,500 km long. Indian millionaires are fast buying luxury yachts. Sujay Chouhan, co-organiser of the recent Mumbai Boat Show says, "The market for boats and luxury yachts is just about taking off in India, and besides Kochi, we also expect Mumbai-Goa coastlines to get a marina each from the government soon.' The marina in Kochi would be spread over five acres and is expected to give a huge boost to tourism in the state because it will be a stopover for all yachts that sail from West Asia to the Far East and vice versa. The eco-friendly marina, between Kochi Marine Drive and Bolgatty Island, will accommodate close to 50 luxury yachts, and provide docking, storage, maintenance and other facilities for boats. The Kerala Tourism Development Corporation (KTDC) plans to develop the marina in two stages, with the first phase to be completed in less than 18 months at a cost Rs 8 crore, of which the central government has sanctioned Rs 4 crore. KTDC has appointed Kerala Industrial and Technical Consultancy Organisation (KITCO) as the consultant for the project. Gulu Lalvani, founder and chairman of Binatone Telecom Group, believes that the Indian coastline could soon have a world-class luxury marina, complete with villas overlooking the bay, luxury condos that would have their own yacht moorings, that too right in Mumbai. Lalvani, who is the developer of Royal Phuket Marina in Thailand, has ambitious plans for India. "At around $250 million investment, I can re-create Royal Phuket Marina's Aquaminium concept, which are condominiums featuring private boat-berths within the residence itself. The property comprises three buildings and offers investors varying unit types including triplex and duplex penthouses, and two and three bedroom condominiums, and offers one of the world's most unique investment opportunities.' He is obviously looking to woo the likes of Vijay Mallya and Gautam Singhania. "Yachting can bring high spending individuals to Indian coasts and port areas,' he enthuses. According to Lalvani, it could take up to three years to develop a new marina, as regulatory approvals from environmentalists, developers and government bodies have to be obtained before developing a marina. "We expect eight projects to develop marinas along the Indian coasts, which will serve as a very integral part of the infrastructure for cities along a coast. A marina can allow more ferry services for increasing water transport. Indians can be exposed to a new lifestyle,' Chouhan notes. With almost 200 boats and about 50 yachts owned by people in Mumbai and Goa, a marina seems to be a timely construction.