Vypeen-Fort Kochi service has failed to earn the civic body any revenue

After wasting five years and suffering huge financial loss, the Kochi Corporation is once again making attempts to run its roll-on roll-off (ro-ro) vessels on its own.

The Corporation Council has formed a sub committee, which includes members from both the ruling front and the Opposition, and the deputy secretary of the civic body, to come up with the suggestions for the formation of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for operating the vessels.

Interestingly, the efforts of the earlier councils to form the SPV had reached nowhere though there had been persistent demand for its formation. This time, it is the ₹88-lakh bill for the repair of the vessels and another ₹2.20-crore bill for the proposed dry-docking of the vessels that have revived the attempts for the formation of the SPV.

The ro-ro service, which was introduced by the civic body at a cost of ₹15 crore, in the Vypeen-Fort Kochi sector has failed to earn the Corporation any revenue. Moreover, the civic body was forced to spend huge amounts regularly for the repair works, said Antony Kureethara, the leader of the Congress in the council.

It is estimated that the average daily revenue from the ticket collection of the vessels comes up to ₹1.45 lakh. Yet, the civic body has not benefited from the operation of the vessels. The Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation has been running the vessels since its launch. Once the SPV was formed, the civic body should be able to operate the vessels on its own, said Mr. Kureethara.

While conceding that running the ro-ro vessels had been burning a hole in the Corporation’s pocket, Mayor M. Anilkumar said the civic body viewed the operation of the vessels as a public service. There was demand for one more such vessel, he said.

The permission of the State government and other clearances would be required for the formation of the SPV, he added. Though the civic body was new to the formation of the SPV, it was making an effort in the direction, he said.

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