Taking into consideration the hardships faced by various families living in the islands around the city, Hibi Eden MLA has urged the Kerala State Water Transport Department (KSWTD) officials to expand their services to these routes.
Last week, the sole private boat service operating along the Ernakulam-Chettibaghom (Varappuzha) route was withdrawn citing loss, leaving the hapless families and school-going children in the lurch. The boat was the only source of direct transport for the families to the mainland. “There have been constant demand by the islanders to improve the boat services in these routes. Most of them are poor families. Now, they are forced to take long route by bus and walk a considerable distance to reach their destination,” Hibi Eden said.
As per the proposal, the boats need to operate one service each in the morning and the evening. He added that he has brought this issue to the notice of the KSWTD director Shaji V Nair at a private meeting the other day.
Call to Begin Services
The MLA has also urged the KSWTD to immediately start services towards Moolampilly, Pizhala, Varappuzha, Kadamakuddy and Chenoor, where no boats are currently plying.
“The boat services which currently terminate their services at Mulavukadu should be extended to Korangotta,” the MLA said. He added that if the service concludes at Korangotta, which is just 200-300 metres away from Mulavukadu, it would benefit the families living there,” he said.
A private boat service is currently operating along the Chittoor Ferry-Kadamakuddy route. However, chances are high that the services will be cancelled in this route too. Another private boat in this route was withdrawn three months ago.
Meanwhile, officials with the KSWTD said the department used to operate services along these routes in the past. However, with the commissioning of various bridges in these areas, they had to suspend the services. KSWTD director Shaji V Nair said that the department would take into consideration the various demands. However, he expressed doubts over the feasibility of running these services.
“ We will study the proposal. However, due to the acute shortage of staff, it is quite difficult to consider the proposal. Extra hands will be required to run the services in these routes,” he said.
But, it is reported that the Department might put this as a proposal to the state government.
Hibi Eden said the KSWTD has the responsibility of improving their services as they have plannedto increase the fares of all the boat services.