Kerala government plans to prepare master plan for West Coast Canal project
The development of the West Coast Canal, the second-longest man-made inland waterway in Asia, is expected to generate tremendous economic and employment opportunities.
Published: 14th June 2022 05:06 AM | Last Updated: 14th June 2022 05:06 AM | A+A A-
KOCHI: The state government is planning to prepare an overall master plan for the West Coast Canal Project by Kerala Water Infrastructure Limited (KWIL), which is expected to commence in 2026, emphasising the economic development opportunities along the 616km coastline of the state. According to the internal document available with TNIE, the West Coast Canal (WCC) has been divided into 13 reaches for the preparation of a detailed master plan. The economic development opportunities would be in water transport, tourism, fisheries, setting up state-of-the-art boat jetties with passenger amenities, boat repair yards, etc.
The development of the West Coast Canal, the second-longest man-made inland waterway in Asia, is expected to generate tremendous economic and employment opportunities along the entire 616km long waterway from Kovalam to Bekal. It also proposes to set up a tourist village every 25-30 km of the waterway to promote various cultural and entertainment programmes. This is expected to trigger multiple economic activities and generate employment opportunities.
“After the completion of reports for all reaches, it is proposed to integrate the outcome of the studies for all thirteen reaches to prepare an overall master plan for the ‘Transit Oriented Development and Assessment of Economic Development Opportunities’ of the entire 616 km long West Coast Canal from Kovalam to Bekal,” said the report.
It further said that, out of all 13 reaches, the preparation of a master plan of two reaches -- 60 km long waterway between Akkulam and Kollam and 30 km long waterway between Kadalundy and Kallai River -- have been assigned to HLL Infratech Services Ltd, and the work has already commenced. The remaining reaches also will be entrusted to eligible consultants soon. The approximate cost of the entire waterway project is around Rs 6,500 crores and has been submitted to KIIFB for approval.
Till now, KIIFB has approved Rs 2,451.24 crore including the development of the Kovalam-Akkulam stretch of WCC and the ‘Kozhikode Canal City’ project. It also proposed to utilise Coastal Shipping and Inland Navigation Department (CSIND) plan funds for the project.KWIL was commissioned in 2017 to facilitate the development of an Inland Waterway from Kovalam to Bekal. Earlier, it was proposed to commence the project by 2025 in three phases. However, due to several reasons, it was postponed. As per the reports, the first phase will be completed by 2023-2024, while the second and third phases are expected to be complete in 2024-25 and 2025-26 respectively.