The Chief Minister of Kerala, Pinarayi Vijayan officially launched the Kochi Water Metro project, the country’s first water metro initiative just a few days back in the city of Kochi. Implemented by the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL), this is a water transport project and will be developed essentially as a feeder service to the Kochi Metro Rail. To mark the commencement of the project, the CM laid the foundation stone at the Sacred Heart Church ground in Kothad, Kadamakkudy. Significantly, this is a project under the ‘climate-friendly urban mobility’ plan of the Indo-German Bilateral Cooperation.
Objective of the project
The Kerala government launched this project with the objective of providing connectivity between islands in the city’s agglomeration area and the city, through water transport. A total of 78 boats will be purchased for connecting the main city to the nearby island areas, thereby making the urban water transport network in Kochi modern and safer.
Area to be covered
All islands along the Vembanad lake in the outskirts of the city of Kochi will be covered in this project. A total 76-km route network has been identified.
Cost of the project
The estimated cost of the project is Rs. 747 crores and will be funded by German funding agency Kfw, for which an agreement has been signed between Kfw and KMRL. A part of the cost will also be funded by the Kerala Government. While Kfw will provide financial assistance of around Rs 597 crore, the state government will chip in Rs 102 crore.
Kerala Government while launching the project also announced that the project will be completed in four years.
Supposed to be the first of its kind integrated water transport project in the country, the feeder service planning process includes the following:
- Seventy eight new modern boats will be purchased for the service;
- In addition to the boats, there will be construction of roads, jetties on the islands;
- All basic infrastructural facilities such as even roads, street lights, CCTV cameras will be provided;
- It has plans of introducing mini feeder buses, electric rickshaws to access the jetties; and 16 water routes will be connected with 38 jetties;
- The project will also ensure plying of electric-CNG buses on the roads in the area;
- It will introduce two types of air-conditioned catamaran passenger ferries, with internet connectivity having passenger capacity of 50 and 100 respectively;
- The government will keep a close watch on the progress of the project at every stage for its completion on time;
- The four municipalities, six panchayats, Kochi Corporation, MLAs, MPs, and also other elected representatives need to provide support and cooperation to the government for the completion of the project.
If the project really does see the light of day in the said time, it will be a big achievement for the transport, tourism and employment sector of the state.
- Kochi will have a modern urban metro water transport, the first of its kind in India.
- People living on the islands can enjoy water transport connectivity to the main land similar to world class cities like Hongkong and Instanbul.
- It will create new job avenues for local people.
- It will boost the tourism of the state.