KOCHI: When the Vyttila-Kakkanad boat service was introduced in the city, it was the IT professionals working at Kakkanad who were the most ecstatic. However, many months into its operation, the service soon started losing its sheen. The final nail in the coffin was the decision by the KMRL to pull back its bus feeder service, which connected commuters who deboarded at Chittethukara (the last stop at Kakkanad), to Infopark.
In a desperate attempt to salvage this route, KSWTD officials are now looking for a more viable boat stop at Kakkanad which will provide easier access to the commuters to the main road.M Sujith, State Water Transport Department (SWTD) Traffic Superintendent, said they have zeroed in on two prime spots at the location.
“Currently, the jetty at Chittethukara is not accessible from the road to the public. People who get down have to depend on Uber services as it is not practical to walk over two kilometres. Autorickshaws are a rarity in the area which is why the KMRL’s bus feeder service was a necessity. We have decided to move the jetty from Chittethukara owing to these reasons,” said Sujith.
According to him, the KSWTD is planning to hold talks with the officials of the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWA) to purchase land so that they can move the present jetty at Chittethukara to the location. “This plot is located adjacent to the bridge. The commuters who get down here need only walk for a few minutes to reach the road. This is an ideal spot,” he said.
The other is a private land owned by a family. “It is located very close to the bank of the Chithrapuzha river so that is also an ideal location to position our jetty,” officials said.
Floating boat jetty
If all goes well, the KSWTD is planning to introduce the state’s first floating jetty at the new boat stop in Kakkanad. “The KSWTD has sanctioned floating jetties in the state this year. The cost of one such jetty is Rs 50 lakh, which is why we are very selective of locations where such jetties will be introduced,” officials said.
Floating vs permanent jetty
The floating jetty unlike a permanent jetty is more sustainable in waters which have rough tides. “The ramps in floating jetties move upward and downward according to the flow of water. Permanent jetties which are located in rough waters are more suspectible to damage,” he said.