Kochi: After initial hiccups, Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL)’s ambitious project of starting water metro is finally gaining momentum. KMRL has floated tender for the construction of the vessels. The project is initiated to connect Greater Kochi region with the mainland and the estimated cost is around ₹747-crore.
In the first phase fleet of 36 boats will be started as part of Water Metro project by KMRL. To kick start the project, the Kochi Metro officials have floated tenders inviting interested parties for construction of boats for the metro. The officials have also kept a provision of 19 additional boats in order to meet the demand once the water metro project is operational.
German funding agency KfW has given approval and is funding the metro project. They have also secured the tender process, giving further push to the project.
The funding agency has assured to offer ₹597-crore loan that is focused at connecting islands in Greater Kochi area with the mainland using a 75-km-long water transport system, a water channel addition of Kochi metro.
By initiating this project, the KMRL is looking extend benefit to ten panchayats as it will offer better connectivity. By 2020 when the Kochi Water Metro project is commissioned, there will around 76 boats as well 41 boat jetties that will take the commuters to routes earmarked in the project.
KMRL is working to create necessary infrastructure for the project as they have already floated tenders inviting parties for construction of boat jetties. Even prospective land has been shortlisted and identified for setting up jetties and its supporting facilities.
For the water metro boats will be made from fibreglass reinforced plastic and steel hull. As per the proposal catamaran boats will be used to ferry 100 passengers, this also includes differently able. The boats will have provision of two wheelchairs and four crew members for assistance.
The metro boat is likely to be operational from May next year if things go as planned. The areas where the boat services will start with 19 boats include Thevara, Kakkanad, Fort Kochi, Vyttila and Nettoor.
Kochi residents are waiting for this project to pick pace as the project was inaugurated in 2016 by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan. With 2018 half way through, work is slowly gaining momentum.