With schools shut, students around the globe have been affected by the pandemic. A student of SNDP Higher Secondary School in Kottayam, Sandra Sabu too was struggling with the idea of writing her 11th standard exams. When the new dates for the HSC exams were announced, she was sure she would have to skip due to lack of transport. 


The student, who lives at an islet in the Vembanad backwaters is disconnected from the city and lives at least 7 kilometres away from the regular boat channel. Which is why, it seemed impossible for her to writer her papers, till the Kerala State Water Transport Department came to her rescue. 


The 33 km backwaters of Kerala are operated by the Kerala State Water Transport Department, who decided to help Sandra go to school. They arranged for a 70-seat boat to take her to and fro from her school so this daughter of daily wage workers wouldn’t have to skip her exams. She paid Rs.18 for each round trip on Friday and Saturday. 

When the staff intimated me of the case, it reminded me of the train service in Japan. However, there was one more important reason. My daughter is also a plus one student. A ‘no’, in these cases, is much more safe and easy. However, I thought of how it would affect a person’s life. So the department approached the higher authorities and a nod from minister AK Saseendran, it was made possible.

-Shaji V Nair, Director, KSWTD


The journey took 30 minutes and the five staff members spent an additional hour at two trips, one to pick and the other to drop her. The director of KSWTD said that he was reminded of the Sekihoku Main Line in Engaru, Hokkaido, Japan where a train runs twice a day just for a single student and decided that something similar could be done to help Sandra.