Kochi: The Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) would deploy two fast ferry boats in the Kochi backwaters on an experimental basis by the end of next month.
Though it brought one of the 20-seater catamaran-type fiberglass boats to Kochi from the Timblo dry dock in Goa four months ago, the agency has decided to deploy ‘Cleopatra’ only after the second boat ‘Mishel’ too was rolled out.
“The construction work of ‘Mishel’ is almost over with the ‘Final Survey’ as part of the registration process getting over. The boat will have the same infrastructure facilities as that of ‘Cleopatra’, including two bio-toilets,” a senior KSINC official said.
Though the KSINC initially planned to deploy the air-conditioned fast ferry in the Ernakulam-Fort Kochi section, the Kerala Pollution Control Board’s initial denial of certificate forced it to drop the plan.
The PCB then cited the KSINC’s failure to enter into a contract with any sewage treatment plant (STP) for disposal of the 'treated waste as the reason behind this.'
"The bio-toilet initiative is appreciable but they have not entered into an agreement with any STP. We can't issue the certificate unless they specify how the wastes will be disposed of. Otherwise, there is a threat of the waste being deposited in the backwaters," said a PCB officer.
The boat can be operated at a speed of 12 nautical miles and has a special VIP cabin.
“We expect ‘Mishel’ to be brought here in a week.” The final route of operation of the fast ferries will be decided later as we’ll also get sea-going permission by the start of next month,” the official said.