Kochi: The Kochi Metro Rail Limited’s (KMRL) Rs 819.27-crore integrated water transport project in the Greater Kochi area has received the Central government’s nod.
With the proposal getting the approval of the Finance Department, the KfW Development Bank (KfW), Germany, which had agreed to provide loan and share in-house expertise for the project, is expected to finalise the deal in its next board meeting.
“If the KfW Board okays the proposal, we would be able to float a global tender for appointment of a general consultant to take forward the project,” KMRL managing director Elias George said.
The proposal, which is designed to function as a feeder system to the metro rail, has already received the green signal from the State government and the KMRL board.
As far as the KfW is concerned, sanctioning loan is merely a technical procedure since the two agencies had signed an MoU – a preliminary agreement on KfW funding the project, the official noted.
Teams appointed by the KfW have visited Kochi several times to study the feasibility and other aspects of the project apart from holding meetings with the chief minister, chief secretary, and the Planning Board members.
As per the MoU, the loan promised by the German bank works out to 80 per cent of the total project cost. The state government would bear an amount of Rs 102.30 crore.
The KMRL has prepared a draft project report detailing the enhanced water transport network around Kochi. The general consultant would be assigned to make the necessary changes to the draft apart from preparing tender documents.
Within six months of the appointment of the general consultant, tenders for the allied infrastructure such as procurement of boats and development of boat jetties too can be floated, the official said.
The work on the project, which aims to procure a fleet of 78 faster and safer ferries to link Kochi with West Kochi, Kakkanad and the islands that surround the city, is expected to be completed by the end of 2017. The proposal also extends invitation to private players to be part of the project.
The main objective of the metro water transport project is to lessen congestion on roads and to augment water connectivity between densely populated areas and islands. The key speciality of the facility is that one can travel by either the metro train or the boat using the same ticket.
The project is expected to cater to around 35,000 people in the initial year, before attracting about 1 lakh passengers annually in the coming years.