Kerala Maritime Board with skeletal staff struggles to ensure legal, safety compliance

CEO says staff strength will be augmented, GPS introduced to detect violations

Updated - January 06, 2023 09:32 am IST

Published - January 05, 2023 06:09 am IST - ALAPPUZHA 

Rescue operation under way at the Kannitta boat jetty after a houseboat sank in the backwaters on June 11, 2022.

Rescue operation under way at the Kannitta boat jetty after a houseboat sank in the backwaters on June 11, 2022. | Photo Credit: SURESH ALLEPPEY

The Kerala Maritime Board (KMB), which acts as the nodal agency for all maritime elated activities in the State, is determined to end illegal houseboat operations in Alappuzha, according to T.P. Salim Kumar, its Chief Executive Officer.

Acknowledging that a good number of vessels in the Alappuzha backwaters operate flouting norms, Mr. Kumar says the drive against illegal craft will be intensified.

“These vessels not only violate the law but also are damaging the reputation of the entire houseboat sector, a major contributor to the State coffers. Steps are being taken to rein in unlawful activities. We will soon convene a meeting of MP, MLAs, and local bodies to chalk out a plan,” says Mr. Kumar. 

The KMB CEO says the installation of Global Positioning System (GPS) in registered houseboats is progressing. “The Tourism department is behind the initiative. We are also playing our part. The GPS will help us easily identify registered boats and take action against the unregistered ones.”

He says that a joint effort involving all stakeholders in the sector with political backing will strengthen the ability to act in a more decisive manner. 

In 2017, the government enacted the Kerala Maritime Board Act 2017 and constituted the KMB by merging the Directorate of Ports, Kerala State Maritime Development Corporation Limited, and the Kerala Maritime Society. The agency, however, is facing a dire staff shortage.

“Of the 590 posts across the board, 300 are lying vacant. This has impacted our functioning. The government recently entrusted the KMB with the task of checking the seaworthiness of fishing boats. It is an additional burden. We have already started the process of revising the staff pattern. An organogram is also getting ready and it will be sent to the government for approval soon. Once it is done, vacant posts will be filled. More staff, especially surveyors will be deployed to the houseboat sector,” he says. 

Mr. Kumar says impounded vessels will be shifted to the detention yard at Aryad. The KMB will join hands with private players to set up dry docks in Alappuzha and Kollam. 

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.