KOCHI:Amid the debate over the life of boats, especially in the context of the one that collided with the fishing boat on Wednesday at Fort Kochi, experts have pointed out that the lack of an integrated system for managing water transport network in Kochi was one of the reasons for the inefficiency in services and accidents happening in backwaters.
Two boats are conducting services on the Fort Kochi-Vypeen route where the mishap occurred. The boat jetty at Kammalakkadavu is owned by Kochi Corporation and the service is managed by a private party. The contractors, Cochin Services, which manages the service, was deployed through a bidding process held earlier this year.
The State Water Transport Department, on their part, is also managing ferry services from Ernakulam boat jetty. Three boats are there in service from Ernakulam jetty to Mattancherry and Fort Kochi, two to Vypeen and one each to Mulavukadu and Varappuzha. As per their rules, the boats are to be repaired annually.
“However, the contract for managing the services from Fort Kochi jetty has been given to the same contractor for the last three tenures. This isn’t fair. It will help create an unwanted monopoly. The responsible officials, at the same time, are not conducting regular inspections and assessing the condition of the boats,” said councillor and former Works Standing Committee chairman of Kochi Corporation M Anilkumar.
He said an integrated system to manage the water transport has become necessary, by which there would be a system to control the ferry services. , he said.