Water metro launch may take more time

The launch of the much anticipated Rs. 747-crore water metro connecting the Greater Kochi region with the mainland may take more time than anticipated owing to some late tweaks in the boat building specifications.

As things stand, it may take a year for the completion of the construction of boats. The initial plan was to launch the first phase of water metro next April. Chief Minister had launched the construction of the project in July 2016.

Tender has been floated for the construction of steel and aluminium boats though initially the plan was only for steel boats. Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) had issued the tender for steel boats based on the recommendations by the general consultant on May 9 this year. The lower capital expenditure involved was cited as the reason for the choice.

However, shortly thereafter DNV-GL, a Europe-based Ship Classification Society with expertise in the design and assessment of marine electric propulsion systems, in a draft report came up with the observation that aluminium boats would have definite cost and operational advantages over steel. Their final report is being awaited.

Following this, KMRL, after securing requisite approvals from the German fund manager KfW, revised the tender on June 30 and incorporated aluminium also as a hull material.

On receipt of the final report, a decision shall be taken on the hull material before issuing the RFP. This decision shall be taken after objectively assessing the various aspects related to the hull material and also by taking into account the capex as well as operating expenses.

Kitco had been appointed as the detailed design contractor for the project and they will work with regard to the design of boat jetties. A public hearing as a prelude to environmental impact assessment will be held on July 23.

Pre-construction works

Meanwhile, the pre-construction ground works for the launch of water metro had made considerable progress.

The bathymetric survey had been completed.

When fully commissioned by 2020, the project will feature 76 boats and 41 boat jetties.

  • Plan was to launch first phase in April

    Construction of boats will take one year

    Public hearing to be held on July 23

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