Ports, water transport get a big boost

The construction of a major harbour at Azheekal will begin in 2021-22, according to the State Budget.

The project is seen in the backdrop of efforts to promote coastal shipping and revive the highly energy-efficient and eco-friendly water transport.

Being a riverine harbour, a company named Malabar International Port was registered to construct an outer harbour with 14.50 metres depth at a cost of ₹3,698 crore. It will be constructed in three phases. The company will prepare a detailed project report (DPR) and a plan for fund mobilisation.

Funds to develop Kollam and Beypore ports are intended to be mobilised from the Centre’s Sagarmala project. A total of ₹80 crore has been allocated for all other ports.

Vizhinjam port

The pandemic and natural calamities affected the construction of the Vizhinjam International Seaport. Despite that, all components, except breakwater construction and land reclamation, are almost complete. Construction work worth ₹2,000 crore is expected to be taken up in 2021-22.

Inland navigation

The allocation for inland navigation includes ₹28 crore for the State Water Transport Department (SWTD). The lion’s share of the allocation will be set apart for the purchase of new ferries and renovation of old ones. Similarly, ₹9 crore has been allocated for the Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC).

The inauguration of the first phase of the west coast canal network will be held in February. New canals are being dredged on the 26-km stretch between Mahi and Valapattanam. The above projects and canal-widening activities will be completed in 2021-22. Besides, over 1,000 km of feeder canals will be developed. In addition to the ₹1,000 crore KIIFB fund, ₹107 crore has been earmarked for the project.

Water Metro

As many as 19 boat jetties of the ₹682-crore Water Metro project for the Greater Kochi area (aided by German agency KfW) will be inaugurated by the end of January. The construction of another 19 jetties will be completed in 2021-22. A total of 78 air conditioned ferries will be introduced under the project.

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