The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) will need another three to four months to prepare the detailed project report for the ambitious High Speed Rail Corridor aimed at ensuring quick intra-State connectivity by linking Thiruvananthapuram with Kasaragod.
The Kerala High Speed Rail Corporation Limited, the SPV incorporated for implementing the mega project, had asked the DMRC to submit the DPR by November last. “Already, the DPR has got delayed. We need at least another three to four months to submit the final project report,” Principal Advisor of the DMRC E. Sreedharan told The Hindu here.
Pointing out that the DMRC was able to complete only 60 per cent of the survey on the alignment of the high speed rail corridor, Mr. Sreedharan said the inability to take the people into confidence and explain the merits of the project had led to the opposition and delays.
Apprehension of large scale displacement of the people for setting up the corridor was baseless, as the final alignment would involve only 15 metres. Mr. Sreedharan said 80 per cent of the proposed corridor from south to north was either elevated or on underground rails. The corridor would be equivalent to three lanes of bus traffic each way and eight lanes of motor car.
Mr. Sreedharan, who was also the Member of the State Planning Board, said land acquisition was not a problem but mobilising Rs.one lakh crore needed was the biggest challenge. The State should seek the support of the Union government. Japan had also evinced interest in extending financial assistance, he added.
Pointing out that the pressure on the existing transport infrastructure would be relieved once the corridor came up, Mr. Sreedharan said the stretch would be developed industrially, technologically and commercially. “It will be the second commercial corridor of the State and will change the face of Kerala,” he said.
Nine station locations were identified along the 650 km stretch and a tentative route alignment had been worked out. The architect of Kochi Metro and Monorail in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode said the corridor would take care of traffic of two expressways and would be safe and non-polluting compared to the roads that were turning into death traps.
Two parallel tracks each in standard gauge systems, which would be independent of the existing rail network, would be the highlight of the corridor. Initially, trains would run at 200-250 km/hr and at 350 km/hr within two to three years. The eight coach trains would run every 10 minutes during peak hours.
The 220-km between and Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram was expected to be covered in 45 minutes, Kozhikode by two hours, Kannur by two-and-a-half hours, Kasaragod by two hours and 45 minutes, and Mangalore by three and-a-half hours, he said. An air conditioned train would have a capacity to carry 817 passengers.