Kerala’s serene backwaters and houseboats have always been a major tourist attraction. However, the popularity of these traditional boats has inadvertently contributed to water pollution. In a remarkable initiative to combat this issue, the Water Transport Department of Kerala is set to introduce 15 electric houseboats powered by solar energy in Alappuzha. With each houseboat costing around ₹2.5 crore, this visionary project aims to transform 50% of the department’s fleet into sustainable, solar-powered vessels. Let’s delve into the details of this eco-friendly transformation and its significance for Kerala’s iconic backwaters.
A Step Towards Pollution-Free Waterways
Recognizing the environmental impact of traditional houseboats, the Water Transport Department of Kerala has taken a commendable step by introducing electric boats that operate solely on solar power. This transition is expected to mitigate water pollution and promote sustainable tourism in the picturesque backwaters of Kerala.
Solar-Powered Electric Houseboats in Alappuzha
As part of the initiative, Alappuzha, a popular backwater destination, will be the first to witness the arrival of 15 solar-powered electric houseboats. These houseboats will vary in capacity, accommodating 30, 75, and 100 passengers. The Water Transport Department plans to deploy these eco-friendly vessels on the Muhamma-Maniyamparambu route, offering tourists an enchanting and sustainable experience.
The Success of Aditya and Financial Benefits
The Kerala Water Transport Department has already tasted success with its first solar-powered boat, Aditya, which operates on the Vaikom-Thavanakadavu route. Over the course of two years, Aditya has saved an impressive 58,450 liters of fuel and generated a profit of ₹41 lakhs. This remarkable feat highlights the potential for sustainable operations and economic viability through solar-powered transportation.
Affordability and Operational Efficiency
One of the key advantages of solar-powered electric houseboats is their cost-effectiveness. Traditional diesel-powered boats consume approximately ₹10,000 worth of diesel per day, while solar-powered boats require a mere ₹350 for the same duration. During evenings or less sunny periods, the boats can seamlessly switch to conventional electricity, ensuring uninterrupted services and minimal operating costs.
Revitalizing Kerala’s Water Transport Industry
The Water Transport Department’s transition to solar-powered electric houseboats promises a cleaner and greener future and aims to revitalize the industry. Many existing boats operated by the department currently incur losses, with fuel expenses often going unpaid. The introduction of eco-friendly boats, along with potential cost savings and increased tourist interest, could create a thriving and profitable water transport sector in Kerala.
Kerala’s Alappuzha is set to embark on an extraordinary journey toward sustainable tourism by introducing solar-powered electric houseboats. This visionary initiative addresses the environmental concerns associated with traditional houseboats and offers economic advantages and operational efficiency. As we eagerly await the launch of these eco-friendly vessels, we applaud Kerala’s Water Transport Department for its commitment to preserving the beauty of the backwaters while embracing green technology.