To boost tourism in COVID-19 hit Kerala, the state government on Sunday launched its first catamaran diesel-powered water taxi service to ferry passengers along the backwaters of Kuttanad in Alappuzha.
With a seating capacity of 10 persons, the solar-powered water taxi is first in a series of four boats, that the State Water Transport Department (SWTD) is planning to introduce in Kerala. The cruise boat would be able to run on a maximum speed of 30km/ hour in the trial run. According to the CEO of Navgathi Marine Design and Constructions Private Ltd, the company which designed the country's first solar ferry 'Aditya', the water taxi is unique in two aspects.
"It is unique in two aspects. One in terms of service. Multiple state governments have announced starting water taxis in the past, it has been launched in Kerala now. About the boat itself, it's a catamaran high-speed boat. All electrical machinery is powered by the sun. All auxiliary loads are powered by solar panels," said Sandith Thandasherry, CEO of Navgathi Marine Design and Constructions Private Ltd to news agency ANI. "It's a highly responsive boat, with electric steering, same as the power steering in a car," he added.
The helmsman of the water-taxi also spoke to ANI, sharing how excited he was to be a part of this new venture. "The boat has a power steering and I am happy to have got selected for the service. I think the water taxi will definitely boost the tourism sector in the Kuttanad region," said Benny.
Kerala Government's first water-taxi service also comes at a time when the state is working on the Kovalam-Bekal waterway, a waterway that seeks to connect the entire state from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram.
#WATCH Kerala: State's first water taxi service, launched in the backwaters of Alappuzha, ferries passengers.— ANI (@ANI) October 18, 2020
Catamaran diesel-powered craft, with seating capacity for 10 passengers, is 1st in a series of 4 boats, that State Water Transport Department is planning to introduce. pic.twitter.com/twRqrK797P