STATE WATER TRANSPORT DEPARTMENT
The State Water Transport Department is one among the various Government Departments of the State. It stands for catering to the traffic needs of the inhabitants of the waterlogged areas of the Districts of Alappuzha, Kottayam, Kollam, Ernakulam, Kannur and Kasargode. Even through the Department is a commercial Department, the functioning of this Department is like a service Department. Ever since 'Transportation' came under "Essential Service", this Department has taken shape of an Essential Service Department. The Department transports about 150 lakhs of Passengers per annum using Wooden/Steel and Fibre Glass Passenger Boats.
The State Water Transport Department was formed in the year 1968, with its Head Quarters (Directorate) in the District of Alappuzha. The Director is the Head of the Department. During formation, the service operation was only in the Districts of Alappuzha, Kottayam & Kollam. The nerve centre of all the functions and activities then was the Head Quarters at Alappuzha. Later the functions and activities were decentralised by establishing an office for the Mechanical Engineer and three Regional Offices in the Districts of Ernakulam, Kottayam (Chaganacherry) and Kasargode, headed by three Senior Superintendents. Now the Department has thirteen Stations Offices as given below.
The Controlling Officers of these Stations are Station Masters. The service operation of boats are under the immediate control of the Station Masters of these stations
The function of the Department are trifurcated into three wings Viz. 1) Management 2) Operation & 3) Repair & Maintenance. Management wing is under the immediate control of the Administrative Assistant, the Operation wing under Traffic Superintendent and Repair & Maintenance under the Mechanical Engineer, Dock & Repair Section, which are controlled overall by the Director.
Of late, the Department was using only conventional type wooden passenger boats for transporting passengers. Now in tune with the progress of Technology the Department has switched over to the use of modern steel passenger boats.
The competition now faced by the Department is with the mode of Road Traffic which is gaining due to the development of Roads and Bridges in the operational area of this Department. The main constraint is lack of speed. But there is substantial economy in the mode of water transport and it is more pollution free, compared to Road/Rail transport. Unfortunately passengers prefer speed rather than economy. The Roads are becoming densely conjested day by day. At the same time the Navigation Canals of the State are always wide open offering full- fledged transport facility. As long as this facility exists, Water Transport Department will have co-existence with it.