Kochi: Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) will construct a separate floating pontoon near the existing Ernakulam boat jetty that can accommodate two boats simultaneously after the State Water Transport Department (SWTD) expressed “helplessness” to allot space at its “heavily-congested” infrastructure facility.
KMRL had earlier approached the SWTD authorities to share the boat jetty infrastructure and the Thevara boatyard for the Water Metro project which would have shaved off a huge amount from the investment cost.
“We will construct a floating pontoon near the SWTD jetty along the walkway. We have already signed a pact with the Greater Cochin Development Authority (GCDA) which will also play a major role in constructing a marina that can accommodate 150 boats,” metro sources said.
However, it was agreed to develop the existing boatyard at Thevara with repair and maintenance infrastructure for periodic maintenance and upkeep of vessels. For this, more land there currently leased to the Kerala Urban Road Transport Corporation will be handed over to KMRL. The agency will also construct a new boatyard at Pizhala after the operations are up and running, they said.
The authorities have identified a 76-km route network spread across 16 routes connecting 38 jetties, including 18 major ones to operate water metros. The first phase of the Rs 783 crore project is expected to be realised by the beginning of 2019.
Meanwhile, SWTD authorities claimed that the Ernakulam boat jetty was very congested with old and idle dilapidated boats lying there.
“There was a government order over a year back asking the Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation Ltd (KSINC) to take back the possession of the boats -- three fibre and a steel boat. However, they are yet to comply with the order. We have boat services at an interval of 10 to 15 minutes and are finding it difficult to conduct a smooth operation,” the SWTD official said....