New Delhi– The German Development Bank KfW has inked an agreement for Rs 630 crore (euro 85 million) with Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) to finance an integrated water transport system for Kochi city.

The agreement, mandated by the German government, was inked in the presence of German Ambassador Martin Ney.

Kochi is one of the three smart cities chosen by the German government for its support.

In his remarks, Ney said that “This is the first project to be signed under the climate friendly urban mobility framework of Indo-German cooperation and is a step forward for a smart Kochi”.

The loan will be for the Kerala government and KMRL, a Special Purpose Vehicle set up jointly by the state government and the Union Ministry of Urban Development. The total project cost is estimated to be Rs 801 crore, a statement from the German embassy said on Friday.

The remaining funds will be provided by the Kerala government.

KMRL, which is responsible for implementing the Kochi Metro project, aims to establish a seamless multi-modal transport system in the city, integrating various transportation modes like the waterways, buses, metro rail and intermediate para transit systems like auto rickshaws and taxis. To realize this common command and control systems for all modes of urban transport, a harmonized route network and time schedule as well as joint ticketing are planned.

The project envisages the use of funds for the development and modernisation of the water transport system, to facilitate an increased and sustainable use of energy-efficient modes of urban mobility.

The German side will consider financing procurement of ferries, refurbishment or construction of jetties and associated dredging and other relevant investments.

The project is expected to run ferries that are at least 20 per cent more fuel efficient than the currently operating boats.

The overall project implementation will be in two phases and targeted to be completed by 2020.

For the last mile connectivity, deployment of electric feeder buses, e-rickshaws and pedestrian walkways and bicycle tracks are envisaged. Better facilities for access and, in particular, requirements for the safety of women and specially challenged people will also be implemented, the statement said. (IANS)