Why Karnataka Is Against Kerala’s Semi-Rapid Rail Corridor Plan

Even as Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan met his Karnataka counterpart Basavaraj Bommai on Sunday seeking cooperation to expand the controversial ‘SilverLine’ project, the Kerala to Karnataka Medium-Speed ​​Rail Corridor project has been halted. net.

According to sources from the Chief Minister’s Office (CMO) of Karnataka, Vijayan asked for Karnataka’s cooperation to extend the project to Mangaluru, but Bommai refused, saying it was “not very beneficial for Karnataka. and had a huge ecological impact”.

Bommai explained his stance to the media after the meeting, saying the railway lines, one from Kasargod to Dakshina Kannada and Mysore to Thalassery, fall in an eco-sensitive area with a national tiger reserve and elephant sanctuaries. .

“In addition, it will pass through the biodiversity-rich and environmentally sensitive areas of the Western Ghats. Thus, the CM of Kerala has been clearly informed that it is not possible for the State of Karnataka to extend its cooperation in this project,” said the Chief Minister of Karnataka.

UNDERGROUND RAIL ROUTE

The 530 km long project is projected by the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) government led by Vijayan as a project that will change Kerala’s infrastructure and connectivity.

Set at Rs 63,941 crore, the plan, if implemented, will cut the journey time from the northern part of Kerala to its southernmost tip to four hours from the current 10-12 hours.

According to an official, who was part of the bilateral CM meeting, Vijayan had proposed that the railway within 30 km of Karnataka be built underground. “It was rejected because it would have caused serious damage to the environment, including rare flora and fauna, during the construction phase,” explained the official, who did not want to be named.

“These are all old proposals, which were rejected earlier. Even now, our government has made it clear that it is not possible to approve these railway lines,” Bommai added.

OBJECTIONS

Congress, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), the main parties in the state, strongly opposed the project due to lack of financial viability and environmental and social impact possible.

Even Indian Metro Man E Sreedharan criticized the project, calling it “ill-conceived with flawed planning and strategy”.

While most of the protests were about how it would damage the environment, as it passed through the eco-rich Western Ghats, the Vijayan government also faced criticism for keeping the project report secret for a long time. Detailed (DPR) from SilverLine. After several protests and pressure from various political parties, the government released the 3,773-page DPR.

READ ALSO | Why is the K-Rail-Silverline project causing such a stir in Kerala? A turn in the controversy

CM Vijayan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking his intervention to expedite the process of obtaining all the necessary permissions for the project.

WHERE IS IT NOW?

In June, the Kerala cabinet gave its approval for the land acquisition and also sanctioned Rs 2,100 crore from the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB). The process of acquiring nearly 1,383 hectares has begun, including 1,198 hectares of private land.

READ ALSO | Center thinks twice about approving SilverLine project due to Oppn protests: Kerala CM

Another flashpoint was the lack of confidence in land compensation.

Revenue department officials and K-Rail officials began identifying acquisition areas as well as demarcating land with boundary markers. These are the stones that congressional workers recently removed as part of their protests.

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