India’s inaugural water metro will debut in Kerala’s Kochi district on April 25, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi scheduled to launch the first-of-its-kind project during his visit to the state. This will be the country’s first water metro system.
India’s First Water Metro Project
The city of Kochi is located in a complex estuarine system, which includes Lake Vembanad and rivers such as Periyar and Muvattupuzha that flow into the lake. A significant portion of the city’s land area is covered by water, including canals, backwaters, and rivers.
Therefore, a water transport system is essential as it can offer numerous benefits while being a more cost-effective option for development, management, and maintenance.
About India’s First Water Metro Project
- Cochin Shipyard Limited is the manufacturer of the Kochi Water Metro project, which will initially deploy eight electric hybrid boats.
- The modern boats used in the Kochi Water Metro will replace the ferry services currently operated by the Kerala Water Transport Department for travel to nearby islands. The existing ferry services have received criticism for being inadequate in terms of facilities and safety measures.
- The Kerala water metro will provide connectivity between ten islands located in and around the port city.
- The Kochi Water Metro is a collaborative project between the Kochi Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRL) and German firm Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), which has provided funding for the project.
- The overall cost of the Kochi Water Metro project is ₹1,136.83 crore.
- The Kochi Water Metro project comprises 78 electric boats and 38 terminals in total. Currently, only four terminals are operational and ready for use.
- Initially, the Kochi Water Metro service will start between the High Court-Vypin terminals and Vyttila-Kakkanad terminals. Commuters can reach Vypin Terminal from High Court Terminal in under 20 minutes, while Kakkanad can be reached within 25 minutes from Vyttila via Water Metro, according to Kerala Chief Minister.
- The minimum ticket rate for a boat journey on the Kochi Water Metro is 20 rupees. Regular passengers can purchase weekly and monthly passes, and the Kochi One Card allows passengers to travel on both Kochi Metro Rail and Kochi Water Metro. Tickets can be booked digitally through the Kochi One App.
- The Kochi Water Metro will run on Lithium Titanite Spinel batteries.
- The Kochi Water Metro is said to be an eco-friendly and electrically operated water transport system, designed to cater to the needs of differently-abled individuals.
- Passengers on the Kochi Water Metro will enjoy the same facilities as those available on metro rail coaches.
- Additionally, the boat jetties have been designed to resemble metro stations and will feature electronic display boards.
- Once the service begins in full swing, announcements in English, Hindi, and Malayalam will be made.
- Similar to metro systems, passengers will board and exit the air-conditioned cabins of the boats which will have wide windows offering a beautiful view of the backwaters.
- According to sources, each boat used in the Kochi Water Metro costs Rs 7 crore and can carry up to 100 passengers, with seating for 50 individuals.
- The boats feature aluminium-catamaran hulls and come equipped with a ramp for physically handicapped individuals, feeding chambers for mothers, and mobile recharge facilities.
- All boat jetties will have charging facilities for the boats, which can travel at a speed of eight nautical miles per hour.
- The boats used in the Kochi Water Metro will be equipped with modern safety features such as an automatic boat locating system and a passenger control system.
- As the boats are battery-powered, they are non-polluting and operate with low noise and waves, unlike traditional ferries.
- The Kochi Water Metro is expected to provide a significant boost to tourism in the Kochi backwaters while also offering a modern transportation option to those residing on the outlying islands of Kochi.
- The Kochi Water Metro project is expected to help reduce traffic congestion and pollution in the city by providing an alternative mode of transportation that is eco-friendly and efficient.
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About Kerela State
The current boundaries of Kerala were established on November 1st, 1956, based on linguistic principles, following the enactment of the States Reorganisation Act. The state of Travancore-Cochin was merged with the Malabar district of Madras and Kasaragod taluk of South Canara district to form the state of Kerala.
- Governor: Arif Mohammad Khan
- Chief Minister: Pinarayi Vijayan (CPI(M))