S. Anil Radhakrishnan

Section of line was approved for resurvey five years ago

Alignment of Sabari railway to clash with the two lines

Survey had found terrain favourable for the project

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Lack of coordination among various arms of Railways has been exposed as a section of the line from Chengannur to Thiruvananthapuram via Adoor and Kottarakara announced in the Railway budget was approved for resurvey five years ago.

The Erumeli- Punalur- Thiruvananthapuram line figures among the 114 socially desirable connectivity proposals announced by Union Railway Minister Mamata Banerjee in the budget last week.

Railway sources said the Chengannur- Thiruvananthapuram line was a new line and the sanction for the Erumeli-Punalur- Thiruvananthapuram line was for updated survey. They pointed that the alignment of the proposed Sabari railway would clash with the two lines announced in the budget.

The then Union Minister of State for Railways R. Velu had approved resurvey of the 45-km line from Kayamkulam to Kottarakara via Adoor in 2005. It was also announced that the engineering aspects, commercial prospects and the viability of the line estimated to cost Rs.110 crore would be looked into.

Sources said not much work had been done after that. The announcement came after a survey by the railway division found the terrain favourable for the project. The minimum land acquisition required along the Kayamkulam- Adoor stretch was one of the main factors to take the initiative.

Pilgrim tourism

Railways had found that the proposed line, which falls in Kollam, Pathanamthitta and Alappuzha districts, would give a boost to marketing of hill produce and pilgrim tourism. The land needed for the project could be obtained without much displacement of the people, as Railways were of the opinion that agricultural land could be easily acquired.

The terrain of the Adoor-Pathanapuram stretch was also found favourable. Beyond Adoor, Railways have options either to go via Enathu or via Pathanapuram. Branch lines can be laid from Adoor to Chengannur via Pandalam. The proposed line will be of immense help to the pilgrims coming to Sabarimala.

The land required for the station and infrastructure can be acquired at Mylam, 2 km from Kottarakara, to avoid land acquisition in the heart of the town.

The new line can be connected to the Kottayam and Alappuzha lines from Kayamkulam.

The capital can be linked by laying a line from Kottarakara. The route proposed is Kottarakara- Kilimanoor- Alamcode- Attingal and linking it to Murukkumpuzha.

Over 700 lorries cross over from Tamil Nadu through the Aryankavu check-post daily carrying cement, vegetables, timber and other materials.

Railways hope they can win over the traffic and freight movement once the line comes through.