KOCHI: Procurement of modernised boats for the Water Metro project will begin in 2018, said officials of the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL).
A draw-down agreement was signed on Friday between the KMRL and German Development Bank KfW for a EUR85-million loan for the Water Metro project. The general consultant for the project will be appointed soon.
“The integrated water transport project Water Metro, which will be launched on Saturday, is going to be a lot more beneficial to the people of Kochi than the Metro Rail, because it seeks to transform the lives of financially backward people living in the islands and the Vembanad lagoon by giving them access to the economic opportunities available in the city,” said KMRL managing director Elias George. “The Water Metro project is not just about launching boats in water, but is also about building roads in the islands and plying electric buses on those roads. There is even a ‘lighting component’ in the project, to ensure that people will be able to go home and work for longer hours without security concerns. The project will also focus on creating a system that gives the public an option to leave behind their private vehicles and use public transportation, once the integrated transport model is in place. Altogether, the KMRL expects to have the boats in water by 2018, and complete the entire project in the next four years,” he added.
The total cost of the project is Rs 747 crore, excluding the Rs 72 crore required for land acquisition. KfW will provide financial assistance to the extent of EUR 85 million(around Rs 597 crore) as a long-term soft loan. The project will be financed by the Indo-German Bilateral Cooperation, under the‘Climate Friendly Urban Mobility Plan.’ Earlier, the loan agreement was signed between KMRL director (Finance) Abraham Oommen and KfW-Urban Development and Mobility Division head Felix Klauda in the presence of German Ambassador to India Martin Ney, Kochi Mayor Soumini Jain and KMRL MD Elias George.