Pathanamthitta: Over 25,000 buildings will have to be demolished as part of the Semi-high Speed Rail Corridor project to be constructed from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasargode. While a parallel line to the current railway line will be laid between Tirur and Kasargode, a new line will be laid out from Thiruvananthapuram to Tirur. The Google Map image of the proposed line is published in Kerala Rail Development Corporation (keralarail.com).
In the aerial survey, rivers, roads, water bodies, fields, forest, heritage areas and electric lines are demarcated. The project which was approved by the Railway Board, was given the nod by the state cabinet on June 9. The meeting presided over by the Chief Minister gave sanction for land acquisition too. An order in this regard is anticipated to be released this month.
The proposed line is 30 meters wide. The Revenue Department will open offices for land acquisition in the districts. The alignment, the places through which the project passes and the detailed project report (DPR) were submitted to the government.
Tenders have been invited for 20 lakh survey stones to mark boundaries. 1383 hectares of land is being acquired. Of these 1074.19 hectares of land belongs to private hands. HUDCO will extend a loan of Rs. 8656 crore required for the acquisition.
The estimated budget of the 532 kilometre-long project is 67,000 crores. The DPR was prepared by Systra of Paris.
Running time from Thiruvananthapuram to Ernakulam will be reduced to 1.30 hours and the Thiruvananthapuram to Kasargode runningn time will be reduced to 4 hours. It is claimed that the project will be completed within five years if the railway board and the central government give approvals.
Meanwhile, the DPR given to Southern Railway (SR) was handed over to the Railway Board this week with an appendix of instructions. The SR has instructed that the present railway traffic shall not be affected and the cables adjacent to the railway tracks should be relocated.
The semi-high speed project is another mega project to be showcased by the Pinarayi government after the Sabarimala airport.
However, the government has resolved not to highlight the issue politically until the local body polls are over as waves of protests are anticipated against the land acquisition.