The city’s dream to have a modern water transport system has got a fresh lease of life with the Centre assuring the civic administrators that urban water transport will be included in the National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP).
It was at the review meeting on NUTP held in Delhi recently that the Kochi Mayor presented the issues faced by cities like Kochi owing to the lack of enough representation for water transport sector.
“Following this, the authorities concerned have assured us that water transport will be included in the Policy which will help Kochi revamp the water transport system project which has not made any significant progress in the last few years,” said Kochi Corporation Town Planning Standing Committee chairman K J Sohan who attended the meeting along with the Mayor.
He said that not only Kochi, but many other cities in India will benefit from the modification made in the NUTP.
“Ours is a country having six National Waterways. States like Kerala, Goa and West Bengal have state waterways and modernising them will be possible if the Centre will give due consideration to waterways in the NUTP,” he added.
There are 16 urban local bodies in the Greater Cochin agglomeration area out of which 12 manage their own water transport systems. These include jhankar and ferry services.
“There are plans for setting up a special purpose vehicle for managing the urban transport and if the provisions for water transport is included in the NUTP, a comprehensive water transport plan can be launched for Kochi agglomeration,” he added.
The Corporation, in its annual budget, had mooted project for upgrading five major routes in Kochi’s water transport sector. These routes include Mattanchery-Fort Kochi- Ernakulam connecting with High Court Jetty,
Vypeen-Fort Kochi, Edakochi-Thevara, High Court to Hospital Jetty, Ponnarimangalam Jetty and North Jetty, Kumbalam to Chittoor via Vaduthala.
Along with that, once the water transport system is included in the NUTP, then the cities can include projects related with Water Transport under Jawaharalal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).
The modification of NUTP will also give a boost to the efforts by Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL), which is planning to focus on developing water transport in the city to develop a feeder system for Kochi Metro Rail.