KOCHI: During last two years, innovative and intelligent plans are seen actively deployed in the industrial and service sectors through programmes such as Digital India, Swatch Bharath, Start-up India and Skill India.
In the new year, our state became a live platform of action where all these plans merged to form an integrated model in ‘Make In India’. When Aditya started sailing, a new avenue in the vast and wide corridor of inland waterways of Kerala was thrown open.
In the recent past, our state has been witnessing some initiatives in the uplifting of the condition of inland waterways and vessels of the state. One of the noticeable projects was from SWTD.
They approached DoST to undertake a feasibility on the operation of solar powered ferry in the state waterways. For an effective and accurate implementation of a project, a multidisciplinary engineering expert committee was set up by the government.
Design and development of the boat were done by Navalt a specialist firm in fibreglass boat design firm located in Kochi. Technical documents and drawing were meticulously vetted by experienced naval architects and marine engineers with IRS.
The hull structure and outfit installations of Aditya were manufactured in Bristol Boats, Aroor, a leading FRP boatbuilding firm in the country. Sophisticated and high technology product, Solar panels fitted onboard were produced by a Banglore based firm, HHV Ltd.
The Marine Make India was well established when the solar panels were integrated with highly advanced Lithium Battery pack which was an imported item in the boat. One of the most important achievements of the project was the inclusion of indigenously designed steering gear system manufactured by M/s MACNHOM, a Kochi-based company. M/s Saraswathi Metals a traditional local metal works company offered the stern gear and propeller to the boat.
Though most of the parts onboard were indigenously manufactured, the ultimate integration of these parts with the boat and the software support were provided by M/s Alten, France.
Aditya, a fuel-free boat takes the credit of being the first ‘Total Green Ferry of the country’. Aditya becomes the flagship of swatch Bharath in the state. The control systems used onboard make Aditya digitally traced through remote sensing and thereby earns a status of a product under Digital India.
The joint venture of Navgathi Marine and M/s Alten has opened up an excellent engineering platform which would help in renewable energy technology transfer in the future.
Aditya, the symbol of Maritime Make In India, would certainly sail forward as the flagship of the developmental front of Kerala.
(The author is Chairman, Technical Committee of Aditya & Associate professor at Dept of Technology, Cusat)