Kochi: The much-anticipated high-speed hydrofoil cruise service connecting Kochi with Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode ports is all set to start operation in two months.
The Kochi-based company which imported the vessels, each costing nearly Rs 15 crore, from Greece has completed their refurbishment and customisation to suit "Indian conditions".
"All works, including customisation of engines and propellers to suit local conditions, have been completed. The services can be started once the Director General (DG) of Shipping inspects and gives final approval," said P.I. Sheik Pareeth, Ports director.
According to sources, the DG (Shipping) is yet to allocate the date for inspection. "The work with regarding to survey of route in the Kochi-Thiruvananthapuram section is progressing while that towards Kozhikode has been completed. We aim to start the service by July end," sources said.Each of the vessels can accommodate 146 passengers and will cover each of the Kochi-Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi-Kozhikode sections in four-and-a half hours.
The project announced in 2016 remained a non-starter despite the state government having reached an agreement with the private agency named Safe Boat Trip Private Limited, Ernakulam, to start the service. The company was slow to complete the survey of the route and other ancillary works required for getting permission. Ports Minister Kadannappally Ramachandran is keen to realise the project and has egged on the officials in his department to speed up the processes to launch the service soon....