Kerala Kaumudi Online
Monday, 04 March 2024 7.16 PM IST

Priority should be given to Sabari Patha


From the last quarter of 1990, news about a railway line starting from Angamaly and ending at Erumeli has been heard. If any big development project is to be born in Kerala, it will have to wait for decades. Angamali-Erumeli route also known as Sabari Patha is also facing the same bad fate. The project came to a standstill when the construction of seven kilometres from Angamali to Kaladi was completed. Later, several attempts were made to revive the project. There were times when the project was thought to be abandoned forever. Yet occasionally it was seen to be alive. In 1997, the construction cost of Sabari Path was estimated at just Rs 517 crore, and the latest estimate is Rs 3,800 crore. The sad thing is that despite revising the estimate, the project is still not on track. It is up to the Southern Railway authorities to submit the new estimate and outline for the consideration of the Railway Board. Due to some other interest, the project document of Sabari Path has been kept in cold storage without sending it to the board. The estimate has been revised and prepared as per the central instructions. When it seems that the plan is finally coming to fruition, stakeholders have come up with a new alternative proposal. Their findings suggest that a 60 km skyway from Chengannur to Pampa can replace the Sabari Patha. A survey of this skyway is in progress. According to the position of the Southern Railway after the survey is completed, the two projects can be compared and the better one can be chosen. However, how can we not see the fact that the Chengannur-Pamba route will be a heavy burden not only for the railways but also for the state government. Chengannur-Pamba Skyway is expected to cost Rs 13,000 crore. Moreover, we have to go through the forest to pave the way for the skyway. Permission will also be difficult.

The state government should put pressure on the railways to make Sabari Patha a reality as soon as possible without getting bogged down in technical issues. The Sabari Patha will greatly benefit the three districts of Kottayam, Idukki and Pathanamthitta. Apart from the convenience of travel, the tourism sector and the movement of goods will also get a lot of benefits. It is also possible to extend the route from Erumeli to Punalur, Thiruvananthapuram and Tamil Nadu in future. If it is delayed further, the estimate will have to be updated again. The measure will also put an additional burden on the state exchequer as the state will have to bear half of the cost. Sabari Patha which has already been outlined should be given preference. 14 stations are to be constructed for the route. With the coming of the route, various types of development in this area will be possible. This hilly route will also give the travellers new visual experiences. There should be steps to make the Sabari Patha, which has been promised for decades, a reality at least in the next railway budget. The state government and people's representatives should put pressure for it.

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