Date of Post : 12 Aug, 2017
Kochi: An expert panel of the Ministry of Environment cleared its terms of reference for the Rs 819-crore Water Metro project proposed in the Greater Kochi.
Elias George, MD, Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) said,“We submitted an application to the Union Ministry a few weeks ago. The clearing of terms of reference means we can expedite the project.”
A total of 78 modern ferries will link the city with islands in the neighbourhood in the project that will be realised by 2021.
- He said,“Though specifications have not been finalised, each ferry will most likely have an air-conditioned space (where fare will be higher) and non-AC area. The general consultant appointed by us is in the process of readying specifications and procurement documents for inviting global tenders for the ferries.”
- George said,“The first lot of vessels are expected in 17 months from the date of placing orders – i.e., early 2019. We want the best such ferries in the world which are faster, comfortable, and fuel efficient than the existing ones.”
- The Kochi Water Metro is expected to have a daily ridership of 40,000 by 2019, 54,000 by 2025 & 86,000 by 2035, as per the KMRL estimate.
- Recently, the project was discussed during the latest meeting of the Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change’s expert appraisal committee (EAC) for infrastructure projects, held in the last week of July.
Terms of references
- Terms of references are guidelines for conducting environmental impact assessment (EIA) studies of projects, based on which the Union Environment Ministry grants or rejects clearances for projects.
- The EAC further recommended a study on the “impact of dredging & dumping on marine ecology” and a management plan by any institute specialising in marine ecology.
- Also, it sought a study on the impact of dredging on the shore line, how it affects marine life, aquatic birds, details of waste water management, & an environmental monitoring plan.
- These are standard processes & assured that the KMRL will conduct the study, George said.
- “The Centre had insisted that the Water Metro project be part and parcel of the integrated transport system mooted for Greater Kochi area,“Ferries operate on almost all the 16 routes identified by the KMRL,” George added.