KOCHI:A Cabinet meeting on Wednesday cleared a Rs 682-crore comprehensive water transport plan for Kochi to improve the city's public transport system and modernise its inland water transport system over a period of four years.
The state government would submit the project to the Union Government for financial assistance from German lending institution KfW. The Kochi inland waterway project, which has been prepared by the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL), is estimated to cost Rs 682.01 crore. The cost for land acquisition is not included in the estimated cost. The state government's share of the project cost will be Rs 102.30 crore, according to an official release.
The project, which will be completed in four years, would also include improvement in road connectivity to existing and proposed ferry terminals.
The fund would also be used for dredging, building and renovating jetties and introducing feeder buses from boat jetties. The project envisages development of a total of 76 km of waterways, which would connect three lakh people's transportation requirements.
It is estimated that the project would serve 35,000 people's travel requirements by 2016 and go up to 90,000 passengers in the next years. The main objective of the project is to improve the connectivity of people residing in the islands and near the backwaters to the mainland, thereby giving them a chance to better their living standards and reap better economic benefits.
The inland waterways would also reduce vehicles on the traffic-choked roads in the city. Some of the key features of the project include ultra-modern waterways, boat jetty modernisation, improvement of other public transport systems and upgrading basic infrastructure.
The project would be implemented without affecting the existing boat services provided by the Kerala State Water Transport Department and CSINC.
The water transport project is planned following the realisation that KMRL alone would not be in a position to fulfil all the transportation requirements of Kochiites, the release said.