Kochi: The German government has approved the soft loan proposal of `595 crore for the integrated water transport project for Greater Kochi, mooted by Kochi Metro Rail Limited.
The project is expected to get the final clearance of the Board of KfW, the government-owned bank, on March 9. The project will be financed under the ‘climate friendly urban mobility’ under Indo- German bilateral cooperation.
The project is for developing a modern and integrated water transport system for Greater Kochi region, including introduction of modern vessels, renovation of boat-jetties, re-development of access roads and provision of connectivity between boat-jetties and bus and metro stations.
The total project cost is Rs 741 cr excluding Rs 72 cr for land acquisition, in which KfW is giving 85 million Euro, (approximately, Rs 595 cr) as a long term soft loan. The state government will give Rs 102 cr.
“We will be able to sign the agreement with KfW by next month,” said Elias George, KMRL MD. Procurement of modernised boats is a major component of the project.
Two variants of air-conditioned and Wi-Fi enabled glass reinforced plastic catamaran passenger ferries with a capacity of 50 and 100 are recommended in the DPR. The boats will be operated at an optimal speed of 8 knots, with the potential of increasing up to 12 knots.
In Phase I, from 2016 to 2017, operations will be started on 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. Sixteen of the total of 38 jetties will be developed in the first Phase.
Two boatyards at Thevara and Pizhala and an Intelligent Navigation System and Operation Control Centre have also been proposed.