Kochi

Demand grows to spruce up Ernakulam Wharf, streamline security procedures

With new cruise terminal, arrival of ships expected to increase

The anticipated increase in the arrival of cruise ships that call at Kochi once the ₹25.72-crore cruise terminal comes up at the Ernakulam Wharf by February 2020 has given impetus to the demand to spruce up port premises and roads leading to it.

There is also an overwhelming demand among tourists, tour operators, ground handling agents and tour guides to streamline procedures so that the guests can alight the ship as fast as possible. This is because most ships sail into Kochi in the morning and sail out at evening, leaving passengers with limited time for shopping and visiting tourist locales.

Senior citizens, children and others who alighted a cruise vessel on Friday and mediapersons who went to cover the event had a harrowing experience at the Ernakulam Wharf because of inordinate delay in security clearance and other procedures. Among those who had to wait in serpentine queues at the cargo berth, risking sunburn and sunstroke, was 80-year-old Lau Chap Yan from Hong Kong. “Such security checks are simply unnecessary. I have not seen this in any other port. It has resulted in hundreds of people having to wait under the sun for long,” he said.

Security personnel were often seen screaming at people who expressed their displeasure at having to wait for long under the sun. Officials on board the vessel sought multiple counters for security clearance to prevent such inconvenience.

“Tourists from India and abroad are also put off by heaps of plastic and garbage that dot roads and footpaths leading to the port. Most guests are senior citizens and have mobility issues. Care must be taken to ensure their safety, while footpaths must be wide, easily accessible and at a uniform level,” said a tour guide. Elderly foreign tourists could be seen walking on the road, since footpaths in the port area are in bad condition.

Senior port officials said procedures would be simplified when the dedicated cruise terminal spread over 2,253 sq.m is readied in early 2020.

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Printable version | May 30, 2020 8:12:56 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/demand-grows-to-spruce-up-ernakulam-wharf-streamline-security-procedures/article26751295.ece

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