KOCHI: The water transport sector of Greater Kochi will see a drastic change by 2020 as the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) is planning to set up 41 modernised boat jetties in the area as part of its Water Metro project. The comprehensive plan not only includes the construction of new boat jetties, but also the development of islands. The agency has already identified 19 places for setting up jetties which will interconnect the Greater Kochi agglomeration area.
The KMRL had submitted the proposal to the state government to acquire and hand over the land to make sure they will be able to launch the project as per the schedule. The 19 places identified are Fort Kochi, Mattancherry, Vypeen, Bolghatty, High Court, Koronkotta, Thanthonnithuruthu, Mulavukadu Hospital, Mulavukadu Panchayat, Mulavukadu north, Ponnarimangalam, Chittoor South, Thevara, Ernakulam, Kumbalam, Eroor, Nettoor, Vyttila and Kakkanad.
The KMRL authorities said the acquisition of land for the jetties will not be a major issue as most of it is owned by various government departments. These include the land under KSRTC, KURTC, Tourism Department and Irrigation Department.
A small volume of private land also needs to be acquired. Initially, the proposal under the Rs 747 crore Water Metro project was to renovate 38 jetties along with rolling out modernised ferries to set up an effective feeder system for Kochi Metro. However, in the last visit of the delegates of KfW, the German Development bank which is providing funds for the project, it was decided to increase the number of boat jetties to 41 after assessing the new DPR.
The number of boats was decreased to 76 from the earlier plan of 78 vessels. Out of the total boats, 50 will have a passenger capacity of 100 while the remaining 26 can fetch 50 passengers at a time.
The major zones which will act as the intersection points of the water transport network, under the project, are Kochi, Fort Kochi, Thevara, Nettoor, Vyttila and Kakkanad. These intersection points will also make sure the benefit of the Water Metro project will not be restricted within the Kochi Corporation limits but will also help passengers to other local body limits.
The first phase of the project, including the launch of vessels, is expected to begin by May 2019. The tenders for the construction of vessels will be launched soon. The tender procedures to appoint a design consultant for designing and planning boat jetty development is also progressing.