Even as the first phase of the under-construction ₹7,700-crore Vizhinjam International Deepwater Multipurpose Seaport is nearing completion, the call for drawing a parallel railway line to the existing line by extending the proposed Angamaly-Sabarimala rail line from Erumely to Balaramapuram in Thiruvananthapuram linking the capital city, is getting louder.
The State-level Federation of Sabari Railway Action Councils has given a representation to the Chief Minister, Railways, Port, and Industries Ministers stressing the need to extend the rail line to serve the purpose as a second rail corridor for half of the State.
The new line that cuts through the industrial and tourism hubs of the eastern part of the State will bring the plywood industry in Perumbavoor and the ‘Pineapple City of India,’ Vazhakulam, on the rail map. Together, they transport around 850 truckloads of goods daily to various parts of the country. The railway facility can also be used to the transport agricultural products such as cardamom, pepper, and rubber in the eastern parts of the State to various parts, said Jijo Panachinani, secretary of the federation.
Further, the new line that passes close to famous tourist destinations will bring destinations such as Munnar, Bhoothathankettu, Thattekkad, Malankara tourism hub, Idukki dam, Kulamavu, Ramakkalmedu, Elaveezhapoonchira, Illikkalkallu, Wagamon, Kuttikkanam, Panchalimedu, Thekkady, Gavi, Adavi, Thenmala, Ponmudi, and Neyyar dam in eastern Kerala to the rail map, enhancing the tourism potential of the State.
Railways have already done a feasibility survey for the extension of this line from Erumely to Thiruvananthapuram. If the second phase of the Angamaly-Sabari Railway, is developed from Erumely to Balaramapuram via Ranni, Pathanamthitta, Konni, Pathanapuram, Punalur, Anchal, Kilimanoor, Venjaramoodu, Nedumangad, and Kattakada, a parallel new greenfield railway line to the State capital will take shape with 25 new railway stations.
₹100 crore allotted
The first phase of the project, stuck in red tape for years since the project was sanctioned in 1997-98, received a shot in the arm recently with Railways allocating ₹100 crore for this project in the current year’s Budget.
If the State government takes the initiative for the development of the Angamaly-Sabari railway as a parallel railway corridor to Vizhinjam International Sea Port, it will expedite the overall development of the industrial and tourism sectors of Kerala, said experts.