BACKWATER TOURISM is finally turning completely green thanks to rising fuel costs and concern for ecology. The Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC) is planning to launch solar-powered boats to be used in the state’s tourism sector.
The ‘green boats’ would be built by the KSINC in its boatyard here at Thoppumpady. The design for the eco-friendly boats is being done by the citybased Navgathi Marine Design and Constructions.
Navgathi Marine Design and Constructions is presently offering three types of green boats with capacity ranging from 10, 20 and 40 persons. Mr Sandith, CEO of Navgathi, said the boats that have been designed can travel at a speed of 6 knots per hour and can travel for 6 hours once the batteries are charged. Higher speed can be achieved by reducing the travel time, he said.
Pollution from houseboats plying in the backwaters has become a major issue in the recent past. With fuel costs increasing, the operational costs are also going up. The green boats are seen as an answer to all these issues. Around 60% of the cost of the boat goes for the solar panels, batteries and systems. The batteries have a life of 6-8 years. The operational costs and maintenance expenditure are practically nil in solar boats, it was pointed out.
The corporation is also planning to undertake the transportation of hydrochloric acid from Travancore Cochin Chemicals to Kerala Minerals and Metals Ltd (KMML), Kollam, Commodore KVR Warrier, managing director, said.
KSINC is considering a proposal to transport hydrochloric acid from TCC to KMML through the National Waterway 3. The work involves the construction of 1.5 km pipeline from the waterway to KMML at Kollam. A barge for FACT’s raw material transportation and a bulk carrier for transporting salt to TCC from Tuticorin are the other projects that the Corporation is considering.