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Fresh round of protest as ro-ro service resumption deferred

January 23, 2023 10:35 pm | Updated January 26, 2023 10:10 am IST - KOCHI

The second roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) vessel could not begin operation between Fort Kochi and Bolgatty on Monday as promised by the authorities, setting off another round of public protest.

The civic authorities of Kochi had assured a section of councillors on Saturday that the service would begin on Monday after they laid siege to the Kochi Corporation Secretary. The councillors had complained that passenger and vehicular movement between the two points had been hit as no vessel was in service on the route.

The Corporation had also taken up the issue with the Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC), the government agency that was operating the vessels for the civic body. Mayor M. Anilkumar had written to the KSINC seeking an early resumption of the service considering the demands of the public, said a civic official.

Meanwhile, United Democratic Front councillors continued their agitation against the “breach of promise” by the authorities by staging a protest on the day near the vessel after the KSINC informed the Corporation of its inability to commence the service on Monday.

The councillors and the public protested against the failure of the civic authorities, said a communication from Antony Kureethara, leader of the Congress in the Corporation council. The protest was called off after the Corporation Secretary assured that the service would begin on Tuesday, it added.

When contacted, Corporation Secretary M. Babu Abdul Khadeer said the KSINC had informed the civic body that the service could not be started for want of clearance from the Kochi port authorities. The permission of the port authorities was required for operating the vessel in the Kochi backwaters. The KSINC hoped to commence the service on Tuesday after getting clearance, said Mr. Khadeer.

One Ro-Ro vessel was being operated between Fort Kochi and Vypeen.

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