The controversial SilverLine rail project in Kerala is yet to receive approval from the Union government, after the latter said that some details have not been furnished in the detailed project report (DPR). Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw said in Parliament on Wednesday, February 2, that the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) has been asked to furnish certain technical documents before the project’s feasibility can be decided.
“DPR is under examination by the Ministry of Railways. Sufficient details for technical feasibility are not available in the DPR. Therefore, KRDCL has been advised to provide detailed technical documents such as alignment plan, particulars of railway land and private land, crossings over existing railway network, duly depicting affected railway assets through Zonal Railway for detailed examination of the project and to arrive at conclusion about feasibility of the project,” the minister said.
The detailed project report was submitted by the Kerala government on January 15, which estimated that the project would cost an estimated Rs 63,941 crore. It also said that the project is expected to be completed by 2025 and would reduce journey time from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod from 12 hours to just four hours. The SilverLine project is proposed as a rail line corridor from Kochuveli in Thiruvananthapuram in the south to Kasaragod in the north. It is proposed as a standalone, standard gauge, electric, fully fenced rail line, covering 11 of the 14 districts and stopping at 11 stations.
The opposition, which has been against the SilverLine project, had said that the DPR was incomplete and unscientific. "The DPR does not contain studies regarding the social and environmental impact the project will have. Without conducting a survey or a study, how did they prepare the DPR? They claim that all the raw materials needed to construct the project are available in central Kerala itself," Leader of Opposition VD Satheesan said.
The rail project has been seeing opposition from several corners, with many expressing fears over its environmental and ecological impact. Earlier in January, residents of the Thazhuthala village in Kottayam had reportedly threatened to die by suicide in protest, upset by the survey conducted for land acquisition for the SilverLine. Politicians and local leaders had also lent their support.
With PTI inputs