KOCHI: Kerala, the land with a large number of rivers, canals and backwaters, is taking massive steps to maximise the vast opportunities for water transport, said Transport Minister Antony Raju.
The work on the 616-km Kovalam-Bekal West Coast Canal (WCC) project is fast progressing with dredging works of the backwaters progressing fast in many places, the minister said. He was inaugurating the fifth edition of India Boat and Marine Show (IBMS), the premier industrial show in the boat and marine sector in the country. “The development of the waterway is key to the economic development of the state,” Raju said, adding that the Rs 6,500-crore project will be completed in two years’ time.
The IBMS fair has 115 stalls of over 65 companies displaying various products and services, including different types of boats, speed boats, engines, unmanned remote-controlled watercraft for weed removal and rescue, underwater unmanned inspection equipment, navigational systems, ancillary service providers, water sports equipment, etc.
The show, which will conclude on Sunday, is open from 11 am to 8 pm.Joseph Kuriakos, director of Cruise Expos, one of the organisers, said that more than 5,000 business visitors are expected for IBMS, the only boat show in the country.
One of the attractions of the show is the Artificial Intelligence-powered unmanned Clearbot that can be used for removing algae, collecting and disposing of waste like oil and plastic, and transporting goods of up to 200 kg. Siddhant Gupta, founder and CEO of the startup, said that Clearbots, which are being built in Bengaluru’s Jigani Industrial Area, have huge potential in Kerala.
The company is proposing to mainly rent out the machine for Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh per month which includes the cost of operation and maintenance, apart from selling it. Naval Ship Repair Yard superintendent rear admiral Subin Mukherjee and Indian Coast Guard Kerala Region DIG N Ravi also spoke.