Corportaion eyes CSR funds for new boat & Ro-Ro jetties

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KOCHI: Will any sane agency start a boat service without planning to construct jetties? Apparently , the Kochi corporation is setting another ‘new trend’. While the civic body is constructing two Roll-on Roll-off (Ro-Ro) vessels, which will ply between Fort Kochi and Vypeen, in a bid to decongest city roads, authorities claim that they don’t have funds to construct jetties and are pinning their hopes on corporates.

The corporation had decided to construct two Ro-Ro vessels at a cost of Rs 7.30 crore. For the same, they took a loan of Rs 7 crore from the Kerala Urban and Rural Development Finance Corporation Ltd. The work to construct these vessels has been awarded to Cochin Shipyard.
However, the civic body has decided to ask corporates and companies to provide funds to build the jetties.They have already sought assistance from the Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL).

According to sources, BPCL has agreed to give Rs 1 crore from the corporate social responsibility (CSR) fund.The total amount required to construct two jetties -one each in Fort Kochi and Vypeen -comes to Rs 7.13 crore. Corporation mayor Soumini Jain said, “We are fa cing a severe fund crunch and, therefore, decided to approach public sector companies such as BPCL to construct jetties. BPCL has agreed to give us Rs 1crore.”

The civic body , which struggled to raise Rs 7.30 crore to construct the vessels, realised that it would be difficult for them to raise another Rs 7.13 crore for jetties witho ut corporate support.

“The Cochin Port, the agency entrusted to construct the jetties, gave us the estimate a week ago. We have already approached the government seeking permission to divert Rs 2 crore from the plan fund for the new project,” Jain said.

The annual revenue of the local body is Rs 110 crore.However, they spend Rs 80 crore alone on salaries of staff. Authorities will approach other corporates for financial help under CSE. Besides, they intend to utilize money taken as deposit from contractors to issue various tenders for this purpose.

But the civic body’s woes does not end here. They need another Rs 64 lakh for a new passenger boat, which is being done by the Kerala Shipping and Inland Navigation Corporation (KSINC). Though the work order was given to KSINC, the agency has not started work after the civic body failed to pay 50% of the amount as advance. (Times of India)

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