With its earlier proposal hitting a blockade on concerns of pollution, the officials of the Inland Waterway Authority of India on Tuesday held an inspection to find out the possibility of developing an alternative water route that links up the airport here with the seaport.
According to official sources, a three-member IWAI team led by its director N. Sivaraman surveyed the existing water-link and its adjacent areas from Neduvannur to Purappillykavu Bund in the Periyar.
The team is scheduled to carry out an inspection on the remaining path to Kochi via Kadamakkudi later this week.
The Department of Water Resources is now mulling over a proposal to develop a way using Chengalthodu, an extremely silted tributary of the Periyar and interlink it to the Manjali River before proceeding to Kochi through the Cherai backwaters.
The IWAI had earlier suggested a 49.5 km long waterway that was divided into three stretches – from the Seaport to Eloor, from Eloor to Kanjoor and from Kanjoor to the airport.
The proposal, however, was shelved on concerns that movement of motorized boats through the Periyar would pollute the water resource and hit the drinking water projects at Chowara and Aluva.
According to A. K. Nazeer, president of the Shareholders' Organization of Cochin International Airport Limited, both the Water Resources Minister P. J. Joseph and V. J. Kurian- the managing director of CIAL as well the secretary of the Water Resources Department, have been briefed of the new proposal.
Experts are of the view that the waterway proposal presented a great opportunity to CIAL to evolve itself as a major cargo station by incorporating a multi-model transport system linking air, land and waterways.
The route is also expected to play a key role in developing the activity of ‘cruise exchange'. With the route, CIAL will be the first airport in the country to get direct waterway connectivity to a major sea port.
The State government had earlier included the waterway project in its 100 day's action plan and earmarked funds for commencing works.