KOCHI: The high-speed ‘Vega 120’ of the Kerala State Water Transport Department (KSWTD) will ply on the Fort Kochi-Kamalakadavu-Ernakulam route starting on Friday.The partly air-conditioned ferry began services from Vaikom to Ernakulam on November 5. Transport Minister A K Saseendran is expected to attend the launch of the service on the new route.
The launch of the service which was scheduled to be held on November 10 got delayed after the minister told KSWTD authorities he wanted to attend the function. According to department sources, the minister is yet to confirm his participation.“However, the launch will go ahead as per the new schedule at Kamalakadavu at 9:30 am,” said a KSWTD officer.
The boat reaches Ernakulam from Vaikom at 9.30 am and returns by 5.30 pm. According to a KSWTD officer, the boat will be conducting services on the Fort Kochi-Ernakulam route in the interim period. “There will 12 trips between 9:55 am and 5 pm. The first trip will leave Ernakulam by 9:55 am. The subsequent trip from Kamalakadavu will start at 10:15 am,” he said.
Kamalakadavu jetty was chosen for its tourism significance. A single trip can carry 120 passengers, with 40 AC and 80 non-AC seating. The boat will take only 12 minutes to travel from Fort Kochi to Ernakulam. The AC fare is Rs 20 and the non-AC fare is Rs 10. “The Rs 1.85-crore vessel can move at a speed of up to 14 knots (around 25 km per hour),” said the officer.
Vega 120 is the fastest inland ferry in the state and adheres to fire and other safety specifications. It needs a draft of around one metre, whereas NW-III has around 2-metre depth. The ferry, made of fibre-reinforced plastic, has a very efficient hull form that enables it to move at up to 14 knots speed with just two 170 BHP engines.