In the Indian state of Kerala, the large city of Kochi is frequently referred to as the “commercial capital” of the region. In the past, the Vembanadu Lake’s inland boating was the primary mode of transportation for both people and goods. The system’s demise has been caused by a lack of investment and technological advancements over the past few decades. Water transportation is more energy efficient than land transportation when compared to it. Kochi’s pollution and traffic congestion would be reduced by this project, which would also make it easier for residents of the city’s waterfront to get to mainland business centers.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi appeared at an April 25 ceremony to reveal the new watercraft.
“Our endeavor is to provide made-in-India solutions suited to local conditions. Be it semi-high-speed trains, regional rapid transport systems, ferries, (or) ropeways, such systems are being prepared wherever needed,” he said.
Modi added that increased connectivity via the new ferries could improve “backwater tourism.”
Routes and fares
It will initially run on two routes: High Court – Vypin and Vyttila – Kakkanad. As of now, there are eight service feeder boats ready to start the service. The timing for this new service is from 7 AM to 8 PM daily.
Also, these feeder boats are battery-powered, air-conditioned and disabled-friendly, and are expected to connect several islands. Since they are battery-operated, these metro boats are going to be eco-friendly too.
For those looking forward to using the service, a single ride will cost INR 20. One can also avail boat passes (weekly/monthly), or get the Kochi One Card. You can use the Kochi One Card on both feeder boats and the Kochi Metro.
In addition to ferry services as a mode of public transportation, the proposed water transportation system for Kochi envisions a holistic development of the areas connected by waterways and the integration of the waterway system into the city’s entire public transportation system. In addition to the expansion of the ferry service, the project looks into expanding both the existing and new roads that provide increased access to the jetties as well as within the islands. It also aims to promote the use of small occupancy feeder modes to access the jetties, promote property development around the jetties, and create new places by ensuring the safety and security of all its users.
The Kochi Water Metro project has a total value of 819 crores, most of which is funded by Indo-German Financial Cooperation through a long-term loan agreement with the German funding agency KfW (Kreditanstault fur Weideraufbou) for the development of an integrated water transport system for the city of Kochi. The agreement is for 85 million Euros (Indian Rupees 579 crores).
The Kerala backwaters are an organization of saline tidal ponds and lakes lying lined up with the Middle Eastern Ocean coast (known as the Malabar Bank) of Kerala state in southern India, as well as interconnected channels, streams, and deltas, a tangled framework shaped by in excess of 900 kilometers (560 mi) of streams. Kochi is the second-largest city along India’s western coastline, after Mumbai, and is located in the south Indian state of Kerala. For Kochi’s situation, because of its area on the lower west shore of the Indian promontory, it is less powerless against storm floods or typhoons contrasted with urban communities on the eastern bank of the country. The city sits inside a complex estuarine framework involving Lake Vembanad and the numerous streams streaming into the lake, including the Periyar and Muvattupuzha waterways.
There are over 1,100 kilometers of waterways in Kochi, making the city a waterways paradise. However, the Inland Waterways Authority of India (IWAI) mandates a minimum depth of 2 meters for motor boat operations, so only 40 kilometers of these are considered navigable. The current water transportation system, including its routes, boat deployment, and integration with other modes of transportation. The water transportation in Kochi is managed by the State Water Transport Department (SWTD).