Kerala awaits query on DPR to push Metro Man’s plan

As per the detailed project report, K-Rail will have to acquire about 1,383 hectares of land for the 529.45 km-long corridor.
Image used for representational purpose.
Image used for representational purpose.

KOCHI: Waiting for clarification or query from the Railway Board on the detailed project report (DPR) on the SilverLine project submitted by the K-Rail in June 2020 seems to be the Kerala government’s strategy to push the semi-high speed rail project proposed by Metro Man E Sreedharan.

“If the Centre or the Railway Board rejects the DPR or seeks clarification, we can suggest the proposal made by Sreedharan,” said a government source, adding that the government and K-Rail are open to accommodating changes to revive the Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod semi-high-speed rail corridor project, which was stalled midway through the land survey following public protests last year. V Ajith Kumar, managing director of K-Rail, told TNIE that there has not been any clarification sought by the Railway Board on the DPR it submitted. “The Railway Board’s queries to us were on the land acquisition and about the new line that would run parallel to the existing railway line. There were no queries specific to the DPR,” he said.

As per the DPR, K-Rail will have to acquire about 1,383 hectares of land for the 529.45 km-long corridor. This includes 185 hectares of railway land and 1,198 hectares of private land. About 67 per cent of the land falls under the panchayat area, 15 per cent in the municipal area, and 18 per cent in corporation limits. The Railway Board asked K-Rail to submit the reply to Southern Railways immediately after it got the missive, in July-August last year, Ajith said.

He said the board informed K-Rail that it had not received a communication from Southern Railways on the clarifications given by K-Rail with its comments. K V Thomas, Kerala government’s special representative in Delhi, told TNIE that the state government’s hands are tied until it gets a response from the board on the DPR. 

Government sources said the Centre was waiting for a “politically opportune time” to respond to the semi-high-speed rail project. According to Sreedharan’s plan, the entire DPR should be dumped as the project needs a complete overhaul. As per his plan, the stretch should be either elevated or underground. Due to this, land acquisition will be only one-fourth or one-fifth of what has been currently proposed. He also said the project, to begin with, should only be from Thiruvananthapuram to Kannur.

A preliminary feasibility report has been prepared for the Chennai-Bangalore-Mysore-Coimbatore high-speed bullet train project. The proposed Kerala ‘speed train’ standard gauge can be connected to that network, provided the technology is the same, a DMRC officer had told TNIE earlier.

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