Paddy fields comprise 19% of land required for Kerala's SilverLine project

The Detailed Project Repoet said that K-Rail has started associating with the government's efforts to revive paddy farming.   | Photo Credit: K.K. MUSTAFAH

Paddy fields comprise nearly 19% of the 1,343 hectares required for Kerala's SilverLine project connecting Kasaragod and Thiruvanthapuram.

“Out of the total land requirement of 1,343 hectares for the project, the paddy field land use is 253.45 hectares, which is only 18.9% [of the total requirement],” according to the Detailed Project Report (DPR) prepared by the implementing agency Kerala Rail Development Corporation (K-Rail).

The data on the paddy fields required for the 529.45-km semi-high-speed rail SilverLine has been mentioned in Chapter 20 of the DPR titled ‘Sustainable Transport System and Green Initiatives’ submitted before the Southern Bench of the National Green Tribunal (NGT).

The bench comprising Justice K. Ramakrishnan and expert member K. Satyagopal had asked the K-Rail to submit the documents showing the feasibility study and environment management plan to supplement the 'green project' claim made by the agency. The court gave the direction in a petition that alleged that the project lacked environmental clearance.

The DPR said that nearly 30 hectares of the 253.45 hectares of paddy land used will be redeveloped and reclaimed as paddy fields. An additional 10 hectares of fallow land will be converted as paddy field. The 15% of the net paddy field agricultural land will come down after the fallow land is converted into paddy field at the end of the project, it said.

Special funds

The report said that K-Rail has started associating with the government's efforts to revive paddy farming. Special funds can be availed of to restore the damages caused to the paddy fields and make the fallow land fit for paddy cultivation, it said.

The DPR said that no forest land has been used for the project by careful planning, though the proposed rail corridor covers almost the entire north to south of Kerala. It is a necessary evil and is unavoidable to cut or replant trees during any major construction such as railway projects. In this project, 10 trees will be planted for every tree getting axed, it said.

The DPR stated that the semi-high-speed rail infrastructure requirements such as curves and gradients have been optimised to reduce the land requirement. The land proposed to be used in this corridor is approximately between 2.06-2.44 ha/km, which is much less than the motorway, it claimed.

Asked why only a part of the DPR was given to the tribunal, K-Rail authorities said that the court had asked to produce the relevant portions explaining the green concepts associated with the project. The rapid environment impact assessment report was also submitted before the court, they said.

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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 6:34:02 PM |

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