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Mobility Hub Envisaged as the Converging Point of Various Modes of Transport

May 18 2011 12:41 PM

KOCHI: Kochi's water transport facilities still remain untapped. Though many projects were designed to promote water transport in Kochi, they are yet to take off. According to the policy initiated by the V S Achuthanandan Government, water transport has to be promoted. But none of the projects materialised during the last five years. Reviving these projects on a time-bound manner would solve traffic problems in the city to a certain extent. Transport Minister Jose Thettayil had made some efforts to vitalise the water transport system in Kochi during his tenure. The water transport department had conducted feasibility studies to start boat services on Thoppumpady-Vyttila-Kakkanad route. "The proposal had got the approval of the state Planning Board. The funds were also earmarked," said Jose Thettayil. But the then government couldn't take up the project further. Now it is up to the new government to do the needful in this regard without wasting time. Another plan put forward by the state government was to start more boat services connecting various places in the city under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM). Boats are already plying in Vypeen, Mattanchery and Fort Kochi sectors. Though commuters have been asking for more services, the authorities could do nothing to address the issue. They cite the unavailability of boats for not starting more services. There were boats services from the city to Nettoor, Panangad, Kumbalam, Edakochi and Aroor. "These services were a blessing for passengers in the areas bordering Alappuzha district as they could reach the city within half an hour. But now it takes more than an hour to reach the same destination by road," said Kannan, a resident of Nettoor. If the water transport is vitalised, it can be connected to the Vyttila Mobility Hub. In fact, the mobility hub was envisaged as the converging point of various modes of transport. A year ago, the National Transportation Planning and Research Centre (NATPAC) had conducted feasibility studies for starting boat services in eight main canals in the city, including Perandoor-Thevara, Rameswaram-Kalvathy and Edappally canals. "We found that the vehicular traffic by road can be cutdown by 22 percent if boat services are started in these routes," said T Elankovan, former director, NATPAC. The new government should take the advantages of water transport into consideration while formulating policies as it is the cheapest, fastest and pollution-free mode of transport. Courtesy : Expressbuzz