KOCHI (Metro Rail News): Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Kerala government to form a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to look after the operation and maintenance of the Kochi Water Metro.
The MoU was signed between KMRL Managing Director K. R. Jyothilal and Chief Secretary V. P. Joy in Thiruvananthapuram. The SPV to be formed will be a joint venture of the state government and KMRL to be called as Kochi Water Metro Limited (KWML) and the state government and KMRL will have 74% and 26% cent stakes respectively in the KMRL.
The overall responsibility and authority to operate, maintain and manage this water metro transportation system will be given to KWML. Technical and administrative assistance will be provided by KMRL to set up KWML which will consist of eight members in the board of directors. The state government will have five members while three members will be from KMRL.
In February 2021, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the first route (Vyttila-Kakkanad) and terminal buildings of the INR 747 crore Kochi Water Metro Project. It will serve as a feeder service connecting islands and city suburbs. A total of 23 boats will be built by Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) for the project with each boat can accommodate 100 passengers and the first boat is being already launched by CSL in April.
Although the operations were expected to start by the April end on Vyttila-Kakkanad sector, the operations got delayed as the work on the boat is still not completed.
As per the official, “The work was delayed due to the lockdown and other reasons. The CSL authorities had been facing shortage of workforce as many of their employees tested positive for Covid-19.”
”We expect that they will hand over the first boat without delay. They have also started the work on four more boats,” he further added.
The project is funded by KfW, a German Development Bank. It will comprise of 38 stations in 15 routes with total distance of 78.6 Km. The boats will be air-conditioned with the service of Wi-Fi along with latest safety and communication devices. The boats will also be environment friendly using green energy for its operation.