Ro-Ro service: No end in sight to the travel woes of West Kochiites

KSINC, which suspended the Ro-Ro vessel operation just hours after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated it on April 28, is not in a position to resume the service

Published: 09th May 2018 03:42 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th May 2018 03:42 AM   |  A+A-

LDF councillors staging a protest march in front of the Kochi Corporation office demanding restarting of the Ro-Ro service on the Fort Kochi-Vypeen stretch on Tuesday | Melton Antony

By Express News Service

KOCHI: The travel woes of west Kochiites are not going to end soon as the Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC), which suspended the Ro-Ro vessel operation just hours after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated it on April 28, is not in a position to resume the service. Though KSINC placed a signboard at Fort Kochi saying the service will be resumed from May 10, its officers told 'Express' they needed more time to provide sufficient training to the masters.  “It is true we announced the Ro-Ro service will resume from May 10. But we are not in a position to do so. The complicated nature of the vessels is the main reason, as even our experienced masters are not confident of operating them,” said a KSINC officer. He said seven persons, including one from Kuwait, are being trained to operate the newly-constructed vessels.

“We can't take a risk by deputing masters who are not confident of operating the vessels. They need a minimum of three weeks of training to gain confidence in operating the vessels. For KSINC, people's safety is of utmost importance than any allegation,” the officer said. The KSINC has informed the District Collector about the delay in resuming the service. “The mooring facility also poses a danger while anchoring the vessels. Since the newly-launched vessels have some advanced facility, only an experienced master can control them,” the officer said.

Kochi Corp plans to cancel MoU

The Kochi Corporation planning to strike down the Memorandum of Understanding it had signed with KSINC for operating the Ro-Ro service. “We have given KSINC until Wednesday. So, far no official communication from KSINC has been received on resuming the service. We are awaiting a reply, based on which we will take action. If they can't resume the service as agreed upon earlier, action will be taken based on the council meeting. For this, a special council will be called,” Mayor Soumini Jain told Express.
It is also learnt the Navy is yet to respond to the Kochi Corporation's request for resolving the crisis. “We will communicate with the Navy officers again. That too will be considered while taking a decision on whether or not to go ahead with KSINC in operating the service,” Jain said.

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