Thiruvananthapuram, Feb 17: Kerala state government has held back work on the proposed Kasargod-Thiruvananthapuram high-speed rail corridor project.
This is after the the budget did not have any allocation for the project because of the centre's assurance to extend the Chennai-Bangalore-Coimbatore-Kochi high-speed line, which is a future project of the Railways, to Thiruvananthapuram.
The Kasargod-Thiruvananthapuram high-speed rail corridor was to be laid along 526 kilometres. The high-speed corridor was envisaged four kilometres east of the present rail line and 140 kilometres of the corridor was to be underground and 296 kilometres on over bridges supported by pillars. The government's plans to acquire 20 metres of land for each pillar led to widespread opposition.
Manorama reported that the land acquisition for the project had run into hurdles with stiff opposition from all political parties. The state government had set up a company to implement the project. Though the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) was entrusted with the task of bringing out a detailed project report, it could not complete it as field surveys were stalled in many places.
The project was to cost Rs one lakh crore. DMRC advisor E Sreedharan had opined that if the Centre and State pumped in Rs 10,000 crore each, the rest of the funds required could be raised through overseas loans. Though an all-party meet was held twice, issues raised by MLAs, among others, could not be thrashed out. It was during this time that a suburban rail project, which would cost much lesser, came up for the consideration of the government.
There was a campaign that the pillars needed 100 metres of land and the proposed corridor would bisect the state. The state's assurance that a special financial package would be worked out for 6,308 families, who stand to lose their land, also did not succeed in lessening the opposition to the project.