Those who were eagerly looking forward to a boat ride between Vyttila and Kakkanad will have to wait. The ambitious project which was to be flagged off for Onam has been delayed further due to a slew of reasons.
According to Kerala State Water Transport Department (KSWTD) authorities it will take at least a month to finish the work.
“The construction of the first boat has been completed. However, the work for deepening of the canal at Kadamprayar and the work of the boat jetties are going on and we expect it to be completed by the end of next month,” said Shaji V Nair, Director, KSWTD.
Dredging and piling work at the jetty are not over. The work of the boat jetties is yet to be completed.
Though the canal will connect Thevara to Kakkanad, the first stage will be between Vyttila hub and Kakkanad. Two more jetties will come up at Thykkoodam and Chambakkara. The total length of the canal from Vyttila to Kakkanad is 5 km with just three boat jetties including the two end points. The jetty at Vettuvelikkadavu enroute to Kakkanad from Vyttila will gain prominence as it will connect Tripunithura to Kakkanad through a short span of time.
“It will be of more use to commuters from Tripunithura to Kakkanad as the distance will be cut short manifold. Only 10 minutes will be required for a trip between Vettuvelikkadavu to Kakkanad through the canal,” said A Sathyan, traffic superintendent, Ernakulam.
The trial service proved that the boat trip would take nearly 20 minutes to reach Kakkanad from Vyttila.
The boats on the routes can accommodate 50 passengers and 10 bikes at a time. Initially, there will be only one boat service from the Vyttila boat jetty to Kakkanad. More services will be rolled out at peak hours.
Thevara-Kakkanad stretch is a part of the Kollam-Kottapuram National Waterway III and the proposed boat services will primarily benefit commuters on the Thevara-Maradu-Champakkara-Vyttila-Eroor-Kakkanad stretch.
Commuters can save a lot of time and trouble as the 9-km road journey from Kakkanad to Vyttila takes nearly an hour due to the traffic congestion.
According to sources with National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) which led a study on Navigability of Feeder Canals in Kerala - Improvement of Canals in Kochi Region in 2007-08, the city is yet to tap the potential of the canals.