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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Friday, 01 March 2024 10.27 AM IST

Sabari rail project faces delay amidst allegations of railways' preference for Chengannur-Pamba route

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Southern Railway has allegedly stalled progress on the Sabaripatha railway project in Kerala by not forwarding the revised estimate of 3800.93 crores to the Railway Board. The project, initially halted in 2019, hinges on board approval for revival. Accusations suggest the Railway's inclination towards implementing the Chengannur-Pamba elevated road over Sabari rail as the reason behind the delay.

Dakshina Railway contends that a survey for the Chengannur-Pamba route is ongoing, and a final decision will ensue post a comparative analysis of both plans. However, concerns arise as the Chengannur-Pamba road passes through forested areas, making permission acquisition challenging. Sabaripatha spans from Angamaly to Erumeli.

The Sabaripatha estimate was revised last June and received approval from the Southern Railway Accounts Department. In 2021, the Center was informed of the state bearing half of Sabaripatha's cost. The failure to forward the estimate to the Railway Board obstructed further progress. Additionally, yearly updates of the estimate are necessary while extending permissions.

Despite being included in Railway's Pink Book and Central Gati Shakti Mission, the Railways haven't rescinded the 2019 freeze order on the project, despite an allocation in the central budget. A 7 km railway track from Angamaly to Kaladi and a Periyar flyover were constructed for Sabaripatha. The plan entails constructing a 104 km road from Kaladi to Erumeli.

Sabaripatha's estimates indicate a progression in costs over the years: 517 crores in 1997, 2815 crores in 2017, 3347 crores in 2020, 3421 crores in 2022 and the current estimate standing at 3800 crores in 2023.

The Sabaripatha project is projected to benefit three districts—Kottayam, Idukki and Pathanamthitta—enabling train travel in hilly terrains. It's anticipated to bolster tourism, facilitate freight transport and potentially extend connectivity to Punalur and Thiruvananthapuram. The Chengannur-Pampa line is envisioned as a 60 km-long road supported by pillars.

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan emphasized the necessity of enhanced transport facilities for the five crore pilgrims visiting Sabarimala annually. Highlighting the project's potential advantages in tourism and industrial growth, he stressed Sabaripatha's significance in advancing these sectors. This statement was made during the Legislative assembly session.

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TAGS: SABARI RAIL, PROJECT, DELAY, ALLEGATIONS, CHENGANNUR PAMBA, RAILWAYS
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