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Kerala Kaumudi Online
Thursday, 21 January 2021 2.08 AM IST

Only four hours to travel from Kasargod to Thiruvananthapuram; all you need to know about Kerala’s dream project to be completed in 2025

semi-high-speed-rail-proj

The railways are one of the safest and least polluting means of transport. Even in the midst of the uncertainties created by the covid 19 pandemic in Kerala’s transport sector, the silver line project renders a new ray of hope. The highlight of the project is that one could reach to Thiruvananthapuram from Kasargod in just four hours. If a person can reach Ernakulam from Kozhikode in just one hour and from Thiruvananthapuram to Ernakulam in just one and a half hours, then it could bring a revolutionary change in the social, economic and employment sectors of Malayalees life.


Thousands of lives are lost in Kerala’s roads every year. 4,440 persons died and 46,055 persons suffered severe injuries in 41,111 in road accidents which happened in the state in 2019 alone. In the traffic study conducted for semi high-speed rail project, it was learnt that 18,000 cars and 500 trucks could be removed from the roadways in the state if the project is completed on time.


Who are the critics of this project?


This project, which will be a ‘great leap forward’ in Kerala’s development process, has been witnessing baseless criticisms and misunderstandings from different stakeholders. This has created unnecessary fear and aggression among the people and it has been leading to protests and agitations against the project. Most of these campaigns are led by those who do not belong to the areas which are affected by the project. People should not submit themselves before the parochial and selfish interests of such persons or organisations. Most of the articles and write-ups on this people-centric project are based on half-baked truths.


Will be completed in 2025


The report of the project includes the land survey, traffic survey, EIA and all other subsequent studies which have been usually done before constructing such utility services and the report has been undertaken following all necessary guidelines. The social impact assessment which needs to be done before the land acquisition will be undertaken as per law. Those who are losing their properties are given the best rates of compensation as per 2013 land acquisition and rehabilitation law. If people could gain sufficient awareness about his law, all the malicious allegations behind this project will be revealed. The project will be completed by 2025.


9,000 buildings to be removed


As per the detailed project report, 9,000 buildings need to be removed for the project. A package of Rs 13,265 crores has been created for land acquisition and for compensation. In this package, Rs 1,730 crore is meant for rehabilitation and Rs 4,460 crore is meant for renovation and repairs of households affected by this project.


The facts to be known


Those who are opposing the project are raising the new allegation that NITI AAYOG has denied nod for the project. Currently, the transfer of letters with NITI AAYOG has been ongoing for taking loans from ADB. It is expected that nod from the railway ministry will be received for the project soon. Another allegation is that the reduced land prices are shown for the project. This project cannot be compared with land acquisition for national highway development. It is because the areas on both sides of national highways in Kerala are highly developed. Both sides have buildings and high skyscrapers along with many business and commercial ventures. Therefore property prices will be high in the state. The alignment of semi speed trains passes through urban areas. When Rs 18 crore per hectare was allotted for NH development, the same allotted for this project has been Rs 9 crore per hectare.


There are people who ask whether the project could be implemented in a way, that is parallel to the existing route, but that will defeat the entire purpose of the project. If it is constructed as per the demands of these people then the travel time will not remain the same and might take double the existing time to reach the destination. That is why the new greenfield alignment is chosen for the project.


Job for 10,000 people


Those who are residing in Thiruvananthapuram or Kochi for job purpose can save the expense of living in these cities and can commute to their homes on a daily basis when the project is realised. The project can produce 50,000 jobs during its construction and can render 10,000 jobs when it is completed and goes on full swing.

The writer is the MD of K-RAIL

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TAGS: SILVER LINE PROJECT, KERALA, ROAD ACCIDENTS, KASARGOD, THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, ERNAKULAM, KOZHIKODE, K RAIL, HALF BAKED TRUTHS, DETAILED PROJECT REPORT, BUILDINGS, 9000, NHDA, NATIONAL HIGHWAYS, NITI AAYOG
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