If all goes well, Kochi should have its water metro by November 2020, a year from now. This would be the country’s first water metro.
The central government's environment clearance has come for the Kochi water metro project, which is aimed at connecting 10 islands in Kochi through 15 routes, spanning a distance of 78 km. The project -- being done by the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd -- is expected to benefit more than 100,000 islanders.
"We are planning to complete as many terminals as possible by Nov 2020. Cochin Shipyard has agreed to hand over the first boat of Water Metro by November 2020. Once completed, water metro will be the best water transport project in the entire Asia," says Alkesh Kumar Sharma, Managing Director, KMRL.
Water transport was once the primary means of transport for goods and passengers on the Vembanad Lake. It has however been declining over the last few decades. The KMRL project proposal says that the project is expected to reduce pollution and traffic congestion in the city and also ease access to business areas on the mainland for urban households along the Kochi lakeshore. Water transport is also inherently more energy efficient than rail and road transport. The project plans to inroduce modern energy efficient environment friendly and safe boats.
There's be a fleet of 78 electrically propelled hybrid ferries plying to 38 jetties. The number of stations identified is 38. It is envisaged to be a 'socially inclusive transport system than being just a transport service’, says the proposal.
The project is estimated to cost Rs 747.28 crore with core water transport infrastructure estimated at Rs 435.37 crore. It has external funding from the German Funding Agency KfW, for Rs 579 crore. The remaining is funded by the government of Kerala. Private funding of Rs 66 crore is also expected to happen.