The pandemic has delayed some of the major infrastructure projects mooted for Kochi, the commercial capital of Kerala. The Rs. 747-crore Water Metro project one such project. The first phase of the project, which is being implemented with the financial support of German Development Bank, KfW, was expected to be completed by the end of this year. However, the nearly three-month-long lockdown following the Covid-19 outbreak has affected the momentum of the work.
Under the project, a total of 76 modernised electric boats will be rolled out in a phased manner in the backwaters of Kochi. As part of Water Metro, the greater Kochi area will be interconnected with 41 boat jetties, including existing and new ones.
The Cochin Shipyard, which has bagged the contract for manufacturing the first set of vessels for the project was supposed to hand them over in November this year. However, the lockdown has affected the work of the Shipyard, as some of the components, including those for the propulsion system need to be imported from foreign countries.
The sources in Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) said the deadline is likely to be extended by three months considering the slowdown in proceedings due to the lockdown.
“The construction of the boat jetties for the first phase is also progressing. The piling work of the boat jetties for the first phase has been completed and the work has started,” added sources. Among the 41 boat jetties, the facilities at Vyttila, Eroor, Kakkanad, Fort Kochi, High Court, Mattanchery, Vypeen and Bolgatty are included in the first phase.
The boat jetties at Mulavukadu, Ponnarimangalam, Koronkotta, Thanthonnithuruthu, Chittoor, Thevara, Ernakulam, Eroor and Nettoor are included in the second phase of the project.
All the boat jetties will be connected with Kochi Metro with the help of feeder services including buses. The KMRL, which has already launched a smart card for various modes of transport, will achieve its goal of ‘One City, One People, Different Modes, One Card’ once the Water Metro is completed.
In addition to Water Metro, KMRL was also handed over the implementation of the project to make canals in the city navigable. The project is modelled after cities like Amsterdam, where the Dutch authorities rejuvenated the canals and made it navigable. Once the canal navigation project is the completed, Kochi will enter into the league of big cities in the world which are interconnected with water, rail and road networks.