Kerala may go out of HSR network

The government laxity on the proposed 430-km high-speed railway (HSR) line between Kochuveli and Kannur will cost the State dearly with the chances of inclusion in the HSR network getting diminished day by day.

The proponents of the high speed rail corridor are baffled over the attitude of the government as the HSR figured in the LDF manifesto.

After the present government took over, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan wrote to his counterpart in Karnataka to extend the HSR to Mangaluru. A public limited company, Kerala High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (KHSRCL), had been set up to execute the HSR.

“There was a good chance for the Kerala project to get number two slot in the national priority list since the financial viability is much better than the line planned between Mumbai and Ahmedabad,” sources said.

For this, sources said the Detailed Project Report (DPR) prepared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) under Principal Adviser E. Sreedhran and approved by the State government needed to be sent to the Centre.

Mr. Sreedhran who was also the Planning Board member in-charge of transportation during the previous UDF regime had submitted the DPR to the government in June 2015. The DMRC had engaged railway experts from South Korea which completed the high speed railway from Seoul to Busan in record time for the DPR.

Mooted as a joint venture between the State and Union governments each sharing 10% of cost and the remaining cost through borrowing/soft loans, seven years was fixed as the time for completion of the line up to Kannur.

The estimated cost of the HSR with all taxes and duties with March 2015 base was assessed as ₹90,660 crore and without taxes ₹77,630 crore. The line was proposed on the eastern side of the present rail line at a distance of 2 to 7 km avoiding heavily built up areas.

Managing Director of KHSCRCL T. Balakrishnan told The Hindu that the government was yet to take a decision on the project. “The main concern over the delay is on the land acquisition,” he said.

As much as 1,155.57 hectares of private land has to be acquired, 3,868 residential/commercial structures relocated, and 36,923 trees felled as per the DPR.

The HSR will be elevated for 180 km and underground over 105 km, with the result it will not result in large scale resettlement en-route, proponents of the project said.

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Printable version | Aug 7, 2020 3:50:52 PM |

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