KOTTAYAM: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said that the government has taken up the development of water transport in the state with utmost seriousness. He was speaking after inaugurating the first solar-powered boat of the state water transport department, 'Aditya' at Vaikom near here on Thursday. The boat will do service between Vaikom and Thavanakkadavu.
"It is the common people who depend on water transport. So the government is aiming at developing a transport system without increasing the charges. The government has already approved long distance boat services in routes like Vaikom-Ernakulam, he said.
"We have a 590km-long coastal water way and 1,548km of inland waterways. However we are making use of only a small part of that for transportation, he said. The chief minister also said that the state needs solar boats which is less expensive and does not cause pollution.
Union minister Piyush Goyal performed the switch on function of the boat. Minister A K Saseendran presided. Prior to the launching of the boat service, test run was done for a week. Two electric motors and a lithium battery is used in the boat. The boat is 20 metre long and seven metre wide. It can travel at a speed of 14km per hour. When the ordinary boats takes 15 minutes to reach Thavanakkadavu from Vaikom, the solar boat will take only half that time.
The construction of the Rs 1.50-crore boat took nearly two years. The boat has a seating capacity of 75. The boat was manufactured based on the studies conducted at the ship technology department of the Cochin University of Science and Technology (Cusat).