India’s First Water Metro In Kochi Gets Centre’s Environmental Clearance
The Queen of Arabian Sea, Kochi, has one more feather to add to its cap – the Kochi Water Metro. With the Centre giving the final nod, Kochi Water Metro will be a reality by November 2020.
In a first for the country, the Kochi Water Metro will connect 10 islands along 15 identified routes spanning 78km. The project will have a fleet of 78 fast, fuel-efficient, air-conditioned ferries plying to 38 jetties. Of the 38 jetties, 18 will be main boat hubs and the remaining will be for transit services. With the Union Environment Ministry’s final environment clearance for the project, the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL), which has undertaken the project, can start the construction of the boats.
The Kochi water metro will provide water transport that will serve as a feeder service to the metro. Thus, it can improve the connectivity of islands around Kochi with the mainland and is expected to benefit more than 1,00,000 islanders, KMRL said in a statement to The Logical Indian.
Why Water Metro?
While inland water transport used to be the primary means of freight and passenger transport on the Vembanadu lake, due to a reduction in investment and lack of technology upgrades, it has seen a major decline in recent years.
Compared to road or railway transport, water transport is more energy efficient. Through its energy-efficient ferries, this project aims to reduce pollution and traffic congestions in the city, says KMRL. This will also be a means for urban households situated along the Kochi lakeshore to gain easy access to business areas on the mainland.
Moreover, this projects aims to be a socially inclusive transport system that focuses on improving livelihood. For this, there will be various initiatives in lines of commercial property development and tourism.
Through this project, KMRL aims to introduce 78 hybrid ferries that will be electrically propelled. They will be made of Aluminium and will have a speed of 8-12 Knots. They will also be designed to be more energy-efficient and environment-friendly.
Funding for the Project
With the core water transport infrastructure expected to cost 435.37 crores, the total cost of the project is estimated to be Rs. 747.28 crores. While external funding of about 579 crores will be obtained from the German Funding Agency, KfW, the Government of Kerala will provide 102 crores. In order to reduce the burden on the government, private sector funding of around 66 crores is also expected.