Kerala govt approves Rs 66,000 crore ambitious ‘Silver Line’ semi-high speed rail project

South India
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The Kerala cabinet has given its approval for the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod Semi-High Speed Rail corridor, Silver Line, which aims to cover about 529.45 km in four hours.

 

The long-pending project could cut down travel time from its northern tip, Kasargod district, to the southernmost district Thiruvananthapuram, to just 4 hours from 12 hours.

Starting from Thiruvananthapuram, trains on the proposed Silver Line will reach Kasaragod in four hours, covering a distance of 529.45 km through 11 districts. 

The cost of the project is estimated to be Rs 63,941 crore. It is expected to be completed in five years.

Trains will be able to run up to a speed of 200 KM per hour on the two-lane greenfield corridor. The line will be laid through areas with low population density in 15-25 metre width, so as to limit the acquisition of land to the barest minimum possible. 

The land being acquired for the project will be given good compensation under the land acquisition Act.

The state will approach financial institutions and nationalised banks to raise funds for the project's land procurement.

While giving its green signal to the project here on Wednesday, the Cabinet made minor changes to the alignment proposed in the DPR submitted by the implementing agency Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd (K-rail), a joint venture of the Indian Railways and the Kerala Government.

The feasibility report of the project had proposed the line to pass through Mahe. But as per the changes made by the Cabinet, the line will be skipping Mahe, an enclave of the Union Territory of Puducherry.

While the Kasargod- Tirur stretch of Silver Line will run parallel to the existing railway the Tirur- Thiruvananthapuram section will deviate from the present one.

Silver Line will have stations at Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Chengannur, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Cochin Airport, Thrissur, Tirur, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod.

The DPR will now go for the approval of Railway Board, NITI Aayog and the Union Cabinet. The project has already received the in-principle approval from the Ministry of Railways.

The DPR was prepared by Paris-based consultancy M/S Systra. Ahead of preparing the DPR, all vital studies have been conducted, including Aerial LiDAR survey, environmental impact study, scientific soil testing and traffic survey.

Silver Line will enhance connectivity with other means of transportation and network most big, medium, and small towns, paving the way for decentralized development.

It will ensure easy accessibility to international airports, commercial hubs, hospitals, and cultural centres.

According to a release, by considerably reducing the dependence on road traffic, it will substantially save fuel costs. By modest estimates, no less than 500 trucks will be taken off the road per day.

This will not only decongest the roads but also reduce road accidents sharply and address the problem of atmospheric pollution. 

The project will also boost tourism, which is a prime source of income for the state.

 

With inputs from Agency

Image credit: Onmanorama

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