Project not scrapped, says KHSRCL Managing Director

The high-speed rail corridor project proposed by the State government between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod is likely to be revamped in the wake of the Union government’s plan to extend the Bangalore-Coimbatore high-speed rail project to Kochi.

Approval needed

The State government is understood to be keen on seeking the Union government’s approval to extend the latter project to Thiruvananthapuram.

The project, originally conceptualised by Kerala High Speed Rail Corporation Ltd. (KHSRCL) for the Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod route, could be worked out on the Kochi-Kasaragod stretch.

Kochi could be the nodal point for the high-speed rail project in Kerala, T. Balakrishnan, Chairman and Managing Director of KHSRCL, told The Hindu. He denied that the project had been scrapped.

Support vital

Nevertheless, it would require tremendous political will and people’s support for the rapid mass transport system to materialise in Kerala in view of the opposition to land acquisition. Interestingly, the latest State Budget had made no allocation for the project, which was approved by the Cabinet two years ago.

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, entrusted with the task of preparing the detailed project report, had faced objections from people during surveys conducted last year. DMRC had submitted a feasibility report to the government earlier.

The rail project, involves acquisition of 242 hectares of land in the Thiruvananthapuram-Kochi segment and 552 hectares on the Kochi-Kasaragod stretch. The cost of the entire project, at 2011 price level, was estimated at Rs.1.18 lakh crore.

The alignment in general requires 15 to 20 metre width only, according to the company. The supporting structure is planned to be on a single pillar spaced 25 m apart in a bid to avoid large-scale acquisition of land. Tunnels have also been proposed at various locations. The track is designed for a speed of 350 km per hour. A distance of 190 km between Thiruvananthapuram and Kochi could be completed in 53 minutes, as per projections. The Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod stretch, extending 525 km, could be covered in 142 minutes.

More In: Kerala | National