Final policy decision will be taken by the State government: District Collector
District Collector P.I. Sheikh Pareed has said that only the preliminary survey as part of the feasibility study of the proposed High Speed Rail Corridor is being carried out in the district.
He said that the final policy decision would be taken by the State government. The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will submit the feasibility report to the government in December. The decision regarding the alignment of the project will be taken only after that.
The Collector was addressing a meeting of representatives of local bodies to remove apprehension about the survey for the project on Saturday. DMRC chief engineer G. Radhakrishnan and Kerala High Speed Rail Corridor Company Limited general manager V. Krishnarajan also gave clarifications about the project.
Control points set up at various points are aimed at carrying out satellite survey as part of the feasibility study. Land for the rail project will be identified at a radius of 500 metres to 2 km of these points. The markings made already are only part of the preliminary survey.
The Collector put to rest growing apprehension about the project by citing the government’s direction to find an alignment that would spare houses, places of worship, and heavily populated areas.
The government proposes to set up two high speed rail corridors between Kasargod and Thiruvananthapuram, and Kochi and Palakkad. Of this, the feasibility study of the former worth Rs. 1.20 lakh crore is being undertaken by the DMRC. The study is regarding the two-lane rail for bullet trains travelling at a speed of 350 km per hour. The proposed corridor will be inclusive of elevated and underground rails.
Mr. Radhakrishnan said that the distance between two pillars of the elevated rail would be 25 metres. Land at a width of 15 metres would be acquired in places were elevated rails are proposed.
The elevated rail will be five metres above the ground level. The rail will take a straight path wherever possible.
The underground rail, at a depth of 30 metres, is proposed in places where it passes through residential areas thus ruling out land acquisition.
Land for a station is likely to be identified on the eastern side of the Vyttila Mobility Hub. The bullet train will reach Kochi from Thiruvananthapuram in 43 minutes while the travelling time between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasargod will be reduced to three hours.
There will be eight stations between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasargod — Kollam, Chengannur, Kottayam, Kochi, Thrissur, Thiroor, Kozhikode and Kannur. But only one bullet train will stop at any three of these stations.
The number of stopovers has been reduced to sustain the speed. The track can be used by passenger trains in the interval between bullet trains. Mr. Radhakrishnan said that the bullet train service can be made feasible by pricing tickets at the fare of first class and AC tickets.
The Thiruvananthapuram-Kochi track can be completed in five years and the Kochi-Kasargod track in seven years.
The DMRC is now engaged in detailed analysis of the preliminary report based on satellite images. The project will go ahead once the government approves the report. Mr. Radhakrishnan said that at present DMRC has been entrusted only with the feasibility study.