Kochi: The Union government has approved the Rs. 741 crore integrated water transport project for greater Kochi mooted by the Kochi Metro Rail Limited and to be funded by the German funding agency, KfW. The Department of Economic Affairs passed the project on Friday. The KfW Board meeting scheduled for next month is expected to ratify it. The project is proposed to be fully operational by 2019.
The total cost of the project is Rs.741 crore excluding the Rs.72 crore for land acquisition, for which KfW would give financial assistance to the extent of Rs. 595 crore (85 million Euro) as a long term soft loan. Rs.102 crore would be contributed by the State government.
The project to come under the proposed UMTA (Unified Metropolitan Transport Authority) includes introduction of modern vessels, renovation of boat-jetties, re-development of access roads with streetlights and provision of connectivity between the boat-jetties and the bus and Metro stations.
“It is indeed a great moment for KMRL and it is a measure of the importance of the project that the Union government has given approval in a record time. As soon as we get the clearance from KfW, we will go ahead with the project implementation”, said Elias George, MD, KMRL.
Two variants of air-conditioned and Wi-Fi enabled glass reinforced plastic catamaran passenger ferries with a capacity of 50 and 100 are recommended. The boats will be operated at an optimal speed of 8 knots, with the potential to increase up to 12 knots.
During Phase I, from 2016 to 2017, operations will be started in seven routes with a fleet requirement of 43 boats while in Phase II (2018-19), it is proposed to operate all the identified 16 routes with a total fleet requirement of 78 boats.
Development of access roads will provide better accessibility to the jetties and also enhanced mobility within the islands. The well-lit streets and CCTV cameras will ensure safety of passengers.