KOCHI: The Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation Limited (KSINC) that is tasked with operating the RO-RO service between Fort Kochi and Vypeen has said that the company is in no way responsible for the disruption in the service after its inauguration on Saturday by the Chief Minister. In a press release here on Monday, the company said that the Cochin Shipyard built the RO-RO vessels as per the order of the Kochi Corporation while the Cochin Port Trust built the boat jetties to anchor them. KSINC undertook their running only.
The KSINC release said that adequate training for running the advanced vessel was not given to its staff by the Cochin Shipyard. The memorandum of understanding (MoU) for running the vessel was signed only on April 25, 2018. The company pointed out that the Kochi Corporation did not take care to register vessels since April 6 under the relevant rules. “KSINC had agreed to renew the licences during the service period if the vessels were already registered under relevant rules. There were reports that there was lapse on the part of KSINC on this. How can the company renew the licence of the vessels which were not handed over to it,” the press release asked. The company release further said that it has started efforts to take licence after the vessels came in its hand on April 26 while it secured ‘special licence’ till May 6.
It further said that the inauguration date was informed on April 25 and the Kochi Corporation was informed by KSNIC that adequate training had not been given to the staff of the vessels. KSINC also said that the mooring dolphins constructed by the CPT to moor the boats were not proper. “Due to security reasons and in the absence of several deficiencies KSINC decided to put off operation of the vessel in the busy Vypeen estuary,” the release said adding the 2015 boat tragedy which claimed 11 lives happened here. KSINC has taken steps to give training to the staff and also for other requirements and the notice that the services will be started only on May 10 was given in the light of that, the release said.
Opposition wants Mayor to resign
Opposition councillors in the Kochi Corporation took out a protest march to the Corporation office on Monday demanding the Mayor’s resignation for serious lapses in the operation of RO-RO vessels. Services of the modern vessels had to be stopped on the inaugural day itself for want of mandatory clearances and due to technical glitches. “The Mayor misguided the Chief Minister and the service was launched without necessary safety clearances and other basic facilities. The Mayor should therefore resign. Though Opposition members brought up serious lapses in the construction of the jetty several times in council meetings, the Mayor assured that all necessary measures had been taken,” alleged V.P Chandran, CPM parliamentary party leader in the council.
The police should register a case against the Mayor for permitting the operation of the vessel through the risky ferry route without having mandatory clearances, Opposition members said. Opposition leader in the council K.J. Antony inaugurated the sit-in protest. The Opposition has also submitted a letter to the Mayor urging her to convene an emergency council meeting to discuss issues related to RO-RO vessels’ operation. The protest will continue on Wednesday....