Kerala’s inland water service is all set to promote inland navigation in Kochi. For this 40 new boats under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission has been introduced for ferry services in Kochi and Kerala State Water Transport Department has provided Rs 5 crore for the purchase of new boats and another 6 crore has been earmarked for the renovation of barges and jetties. This proposal will tap the potential of the State’s Inland water transport system.
Kochi, one of the best ports in India has a wide network of water bodies linking various places and suburbs to the city. It is perhaps the only city in India, which has the exceptional credential of the ‘Queen of Arabian Sea’. Currently 12 of the 16 local bodies, including the Kochi Corporation within the urban agglomeration area of the city, have licensed ferry services. These 12 local bodies together operate 30 different ferry services connecting various places to the city centre.
For the improvement of this inland navigation system, the existing ferry services needs to be modernized and executed to be an integrated public transport system. For this, more boat building yards need to be built and the boats should be equipped with all the modern facilities to ensure safe an enjoyable traveling experience for the travelers.
Experts in the field said the boats on the route have to be standardized. It can also be integrated with the national highways to make up a comprehensive transport network. The NH-47 Kochi Bypass that starts at Aroor has a rail head and if the national waterway also touches Aroor, it will offer the ultimate convenience of three major means of transport.
The ferry system comprises of country craft carriers, junkar services and motor boats. All these major water transport systems are cheap, and eco-friendly. It can play an important role in unclogging the choked road networks of Kochi. The journey through these beautiful waterways can provide a delightful experience not only for the tourists but also for the regular passengers.