KOCHI: Putting an end to the uncertainty over the operation of a new passenger ferry service between Fort Kochi and Vypeen, the Kerala State Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) is all set to start it from Thursday.The KSINC, which has been entrusted with the operation of the ferry service, successfully conducted a trial run of the 150-seater Fort Queen along the route on Tuesday.Though talks were on between Kochi Corporation and the KSINC over entrusting the operation of the ferry service, it was delayed due to technical snags. The KSINC will operate the ferry service till a special purpose vehicle (SPV) is formed by the corporation with stakeholding from other participants.
“Since the KSINC started conducting the trial service, their permission is needed and we are waiting for that. We hope to start the service from Thursday. The official inauguration will be carried out only in the presence of the corporation councilors,” said Mayor Soumini Jain, adding that the agreement with the KSINC was inked on Monday.
Meanwhile, Kochi Corporation has mooted steps to cancel the agreement it had signed with the operators of Pappy, which is now operating the ferry service in this route.“We have already issued a notice to the Jhankar operators to suspend the service for facilitating the construction of a mooring facility for the new Ro-Ro vessel. The new ferry service will work as an alternative solution to the traffic woes of the western Kochi region. The agreement with Pappy will be cancelled once the new service comes into effect,” said a source at the Kochi corporation office.
The move to introduce the new service came after the Fort Kochi boat tragedy of 2015, which claimed 11 lives. Opposition councillors alleged the corporation plans to entrust the operation of the ferry service to a private party.