The Kochi Water Metro, a first-of-its-kind public watercraft operation in India connected with a metro rail network, saw the opening of its first phase on Tuesday, April 25.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who was on a two-day visit to Kerala, launched India’s first water metro, which uses battery-operated electric hybrid boats to connect 10 islands near Kochi in order to provide continuous connectivity with the metropolis.
The route of the Water Metro
Water Metro provides a distinctive alternative to traditional metro systems in terms of efficiency and passenger experience. This kind of transit is quite advantageous for cities like Kochi. The train will travel through 11 districts, including Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Palakkad, Pathanamthitta, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, and Kasargod, according to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO). In Thiruvananthapuram, PM Modi also laid the cornerstone for the Digital Science Park. According to the PMO, the Digital Science Park is envisioned as a crucial research site for the creation of digital goods and services for business and industry.
What is the Kochi Water Metro?
With the aid of a German financial organization, Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau, Kochi Metro Rail Corporation Limited (KMRL) is putting the Kochi Water Metro project into action. It comprises boats with amenities like hybrid propulsion, battery power, air conditioning, and accessibility for those with disabilities. The water metro is going to operate on bodies of water similarly to any ferry or conventional boat assistance but with more contemporary amenities and security precautions.
The Kochi Water Metro was designed as an extension of the Kochi Metro Rail, which has been running since 2017. Boat terminals, visitor arrival and departure gates, ticket counters, and safety precautions are similar to those of the Kochi Metro rail service, even though boats have been constructed to resemble Kochi Metro coaches. Every Jettie has an electronic board with information regarding boat service. When the services are in full swing, announcements will be broadcasted in English, Hindi, and Malayalam. Similar to Kochi metros, passengers can access and exit boats with air-conditioned cabins.
Workings of the Water Metro
The water metro boat route will run in the backwaters of Kochi, linking the mainland of Kochi, the economic centre of Kerala, with 10 adjacent islands. A total of 78 boats and 38 jetties are planned for the 76-kilometer project. In contrast to conventional ferries, noise-free, battery-powered boats have modest waves. All terminals have been equipped with boat recharging stations. These boats, which cost ₹ 7 crore each, have aluminum catamaran hulls and have a top speed of 8 nautical miles per hour. Each boat has 50 seats and can accommodate 100 passengers.
The Kochi Metro Rail Service includes a project called the Kochi Water Metro. The anticipated price of the water metro was originally estimated at ₹ 747 crore in 2016, but it has since been raised to ₹ 1136 crore. Using the given amount, Cochin Shipyard Limited has built ships and boats. Beginning on April 26, water metro boat operations will be offered for a fee. Two routes—the High Court to Vypin and Vyttila to Kakkanad stretch—will be used for the initial operation. From 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., eight boats are going to be part of the operation on these two schedules, departing every 15 minutes.
Inauguration of the Digital Science Park
The Digital Science Park will have shared facilities to facilitate the growth of products in the domain of Industry 4.0 technologies, including artificial intelligence, data analysis, cyber security, smart materials, etc., according to a PMO statement. It is a third-generation Science Park.
Top-tier research conducted by businesses and collaborative product creation between universities and industry will be made possible by modern core infrastructure. The initial expenditure for Phase 1 of the construction work is approximately Rs 200 crore, despite the project’s estimated 1,515 crore rupee overall cost.
PM Modi was seen strolling through Kochi’s streets while dressed in traditional Keralan garb. On either side of the street, people lined up to support the prime minister. They also bombarded him with flower petals. PM Modi was seen mingling with people and shaking hands. He was led to an SUV by security personnel after a more than 15-minute walk.