KOCHI: The Kerala State Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) may be tasked with operating the newly-constructed roll-on roll-off (Ro-Ro) vessels between the Fort Kochi-Vypeen route.
Mayor Soumini Jain said a “decision on handing over the Ro-Ro operations to KSINC will be finalised only after a meeting with the KSINC managing director Tom Jose.”
“Since the officer was unavailable, the meeting will be held in the coming days,” said Mayor Soumini Jain. She said the ferry service will be launched in a month.
The Kochi Corporation’s plans to rope in the KSINC for the purpose comes after its councillors and the people demanded the operation of the jhankar service should be handed over to government agencies rather than private parties. The steering committee meeting of the Kochi Corporation had also been marred with protests against the corporation’s previous plans to hand over the vessels’ operation to private parties.
It is learnt the civic body is also planning to form a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to conduct the service and is seeking the government agency’s help for the same. “Objections were raised in the steering committee meeting over the decision to hand over the vessels’ functioning to private agencies. It will be better for the vessels if experts in the field handled them. We are planning to form a SPV for this and a final decision will be taken after consultations,” said Works Committee chairperson PM Harris.
However, KSINC officers told Express they were yet to receive any communication from the Kochi Corporation with regard to handling the Ro-Ro operations.
Trial run held
Successful trial run of the vessels was conducted along the Fort Kochi-Vypeen route last week. Mayor Soumini Jain, K V Thomas MP, K J Maxi MLA, Kochi Corporation standing committee chairpersons Shiny Mathew, Gracy Joseph, V K Minimol, A B Sabu, P M Harris, K V P Krishna Kumar, councillors, besides officers of the Cochin Port Trust and Cochin Shipyard were present.
The vessels have been built for Rs 7.98 crore. A sum of Rs 7.62 crore was spent to construct terminals at both the jetties.