Vaikom to welcome second solar-powered vessel

2 emission-free vessels in the pipeline

Three-and-a-half years after Aditya, the country’s first solar passenger boat, was inducted into service, Vaikom in Kottayam is now set to welcome its second solar-powered passenger vessel in June this year. Works on the IRS (Indian Registrar of Shipping ) — class vessel — with a capacity to carry 75 passengers, is progressing fast at a private yard in Aroor in Kochi.

Confirming the move, Shaji V. Nair, State Water Transport Department (SWTD) said plans were afoot to launch two emission-free vessels between May and June this year. “One of them will be operating between Vaikom-Thavanakkadavu route — one of the busiest water routes in the State, while a survey is on to identify the route of operation for the second boat,” he said.

Official sources said the second vessel was most likely to hit the Perumbalam-Panavally route around the same time. The cost of construction per vessel, which will work on 80 Kilo Watts propulsive power engine, is estimated to be around ₹2.5 crore.

“The design and specifications were finalised after analysing the operation of the pilot project Adithya for two years. Accordingly, some changes were made in the overall design while the capacity of battery has been doubled to ensure more running time,” the official said.

Solar cruise boat

Meanwhile, a ₹3.5 crore double-hull solar cruise boat is expected to join the SWTD fleet later this year. The AC double-decker boat, which will have 100 push-back seats on the lower deck and a party area on the upper deck, is for operating package trips connecting the various backwater destinations across Alappuzha and Kottayam. Inspired by the success of Aditya, Transport Minister A.K. Saseendran recently announced that the SWTD planned to induct five more solar boats into its fleet. The announcement was made while inaugurating the third anniversary celebrations of Adithya in Vaikom last week. On the occasion, the Minister also announced plans to allocate a hovercraft service to the town.

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Printable version | May 25, 2020 7:26:41 AM |

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