Defence Minister A.K. Antony has been requested to intervene to revive the proposal for a 71-km Kanhangad-Kaniyur railway line, which will bring Bangalore and northern Kerala closer.

M.C. Jose, executive member of the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee, who submitted a memorandum to the Defence Minister during his recent visit here, said here on Monday that Mr. Antony evinced keen interest in the project and promised to take up the matter with the Planning Commission to grant approval to the Railway Ministry to start the work on the 40-km Kanhangad-Panathur line and the survey on the remaining 31-km stretch.

In six hours

The memorandum, a copy of which has been given to Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, said the rail route would help people reach Bangalore from the region in just over six hours instead of the present 12 hours and would spur all-round development of the socially and economically backward region.

Jos Kochukunnel, president of the North-east Malabar Railway Association, said the local people were willing to provide land free of cost for the project.

The memorandum said the rail route would prove crucial for the development of the region, which had a key defence unit of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd., the Central University of Kerala, the Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala, famed tourist spots such as Bekal and noted pilgrim centres.