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SilverLine DPR proposes Kottayam station in middle of Vembanad lake

Scheme for tunnel through Kallayi river, Ayathil stream realignment may prompt revision

Published: 19th January 2022 06:43 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th January 2022 06:43 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Going by the geographic coordinates in the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the semi-high speed SilverLine, the proposed Kottayam station would be in the middle of Vembanad lake. And the hydrological impact assessment recommends that a stream and its tributaries in Kollam should be realigned and diverted to another location.

What’s more, about 5-km-long tunnel has also been proposed under the Kallayi river in Kozhikode.
The DPR has a slew of seemingly strange proposals and observations that have invited severe flak from various corners. There are indications that the government has been mulling over the possibility of revising the report. A couple of slight modifications were carried out in the previous report, experts point out.

The proposed site for the Kottayam station is a case in point. The geographical coordinates of the station are given as 9°34’33.43”N  (latitude) and 76°22’18.74”E (longitude) in the second volume of the main report. A simple Google search shows that the location would be in the middle of Vembanad lake.

However, K-Rail officials dismissed it as a typo. “The given coordinates have a typographical error. Correct coordinates are given in part C of the second volume,” said an official. The hydrological impact assessment report proposes to realign and divert Ayathil thodu in Kollam, and its tributaries,  which run parallel to the rail line. According to the Environmental Impact Assessment in the DPR, the area is shown as the most vulnerable place of hydrological impact.

But the K-Rail official said the proposal can be executed. “An existing watercourse can be shifted by giving adequate slope and width to ensure free flow of natural water. A peripheral drain can also be provided if required,” said the official, who did not want to be identified.

“It’s evident that the DPR and the environmental report were prepared hastily. In a watershed region, a stream runs through a natural landscape depending on the topography, hence any diversion would have a very negative impact. Most proposals in the project report cannot be implemented on the ground,” observed environmentalist and engineer Sridhar Radhakrishnan. Experts find the proposal to build an underwater tunnel near the proposed underground station at Kozhikode ‘fantastical’.

About 7.9km will be underground alignment at Kozhikode, which includes 5.214km of full-depth horizontal tunnel. “The rail level is kept at 18m from the bed level of the (Kallayi) river. This will have to be reviewed after detailed hydrological and geotechnical studies before execution. Due to the high depth of the alignment requirement at this river location in close vicinity of the Kozhikode station, the depth of the rail level at proposed station comes to 33.621m,” says the report adding that it will be updated during execution as per the actual requirement of the rail level.

With many pointing out the strange proposals in the DPR, local self-government minister M V Govindan recently said the government was not against modifying the report. Not just environmentalists, but many engineering experts too have pointed out lapses in the DPR. 

Strange alignment
The proposed site for the Kottayam station is a case in point. The geographical coordinates of the station are given as 9°34’33.43”N  (latitude) and 76°22’18.74”E (longitude) in the second volume of the main report. A simple Google search shows that the location would be in the middle of Vembanad lake.

However, K-Rail officials dismissed it as a typo. “The given coordinates have a typographical error. Correct coordinates are given in part C of the second volume,” said an official.



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