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Railway yet to take up feasibility survey

C. S. Narayanan Kutty
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Panathur-Kaniyur stretch of 71-km Kanhangad-Kaniyur link

The railway authorities are yet to take up a feasibility survey on the 40-km Panathur-Kaniyur stretch, part of the proposed 71-km rail link from Kanhangad to Kaniyur.

The survey on the Kanhangad-Panathur stretch had been completed. The rail link, on commissioning, would reduce the rail distance between Kasaragod and Bangalore by over 300 km.

The railway authorities had stated in their report to the Railway Board that a rail line in the 40-km stretch was ‘highly feasible.'

The engineering feasibility survey was led by Railway Chief Engineer (Survey) Divakar, and the traffic survey was supervised by Rathi R. Raj, Deputy Chief Operations Manager (Constructions) in 2009. Their report helped the ambitious project enter the ‘pink' book of the Railways, Jos Kochukunnel, president, North East Malabar Passengers Association, told The Hindu here.

The Railway Budget of 2009-10 had approved the requisite survey on the remaining 31-km stretch. The South Western Railway (SWR) had failed to take up the work, Mr. Kochukunnel said. There was no mention of the survey in the 2011-12 Budget proposals.

The estimated cost of the project was only Rs.400 crore, compared to the Rs.2,500 crore for the Thalassery-Mysore route, he said.

The association had recently conducted an informal survey of the Panathur-Kaniyur stretch. The report and a memorandum were recently submitted to the SWR Chief Administrative Office, Bangalore.

The association had also sent the reports to the Railway Board, the Railway Ministry, and the Chief Ministers of Kerala and Karnataka, he said.

The State government had agreed to allocate Rs.150 crore for land acquisition. Many people had agreed to provide land free-of-cost. There would be no damage to the environment as the line would not pass through forests, he said.

The rail link would augment the all-round development of the region and serve as a strategic route to the Ezhimala Naval Academy. The rail line would pass through Sullia, Karnataka Chief Minister Sadananda Gowda's native place, Mr. Kochukunnel said. “Political will is required for the project to materialise. The Chief Ministers of both States should take the initiative,” he said.

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