In view of the inordinate delay in getting the final approval for the SilverLine project from the Centre, the Kerala government has decided to redeploy the revenue officials deputed for land acquisition for the project in 11 districts to other essential projects.
GS-III: Industry and Infrastructure (Infrastructure- Roads, Railways etc.)
Dimensions of the Article:
- What is SilverLine in Kerala?
- Details regarding the SilverLine
- Advantages of the SilverLine project
- Why are there protests against the project?
What is SilverLine in Kerala?
- SilverLine is a semi high-speed railway project connecting the state’s northern and southern ends at a cost of over Rs 63,000 crore. The government has said that the project will bring about an upgrade to the railway infrastructure.
- The proposed 529.45-km line will link Thiruvananthapuram in the south to Kasaragod in the north, covering 11 districts through 11 stations.
- The deadline for the project, being executed by the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL, or K-Rail is a joint venture between the Kerala government and the Union Ministry of Railways created to execute big railway projects), is 2025.
- The state government has begun the process of land acquisition after the Cabinet gave its approval in June 2021. The Cabinet has also approved administrative sanction to get Rs 2,100 crore from the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), the central investment arm of the government.
Details regarding the SilverLine
- As per the alignment, the railway line, beginning from Thiruvananthapuram, will have stations in Kollam, Chengannur, Kottayam, Ernakulam (Kakkanad), Cochin Airport, Thrissur, Tirur, Kozhikode and Kannur before culminating in Kasaragod.
- The Cochin International Airport Limited (CIAL) has already offered one acre for the station there.
- According to K-Rail, the project will have trains of electric multiple unit (EMU) type, each with preferably 9 cars (maximum of 675 passengers) extendable to 12. The trains can run at a maximum speed of 220 km/hr on a standard gauge track, completing journeys in either direction in under four hours.
- Of the 11 stations, three will be elevated (Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Thrissur), one underground (Kozhikode) and the rest at grade.
Advantages of the SilverLine project
- When the project is completed, one can travel from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram in less than four hours at 200 km/hr. On the existing Indian Railways network, it now takes 12 hours.
- The government claims the SilverLine project can take a significant load of traffic off the existing stretch and make travel faster for commuters, which in turn will reduce congestion on roads and help reduce accidents.
- The government claims the line will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions, help in expansion of Ro-Ro services, produce employment opportunities, integrate airports and IT corridors, and enable faster development of cities it passes through.
- The SilverLine is meant to meet the demands of the future as the existing railway infrastructure in Kerala cannot do so with most of the trains run at an average speed of 45 km/hr due to a lot of curves and bends on the existing stretch.
Why are there protests against the project?
- Primary criticisms of the SilverLine project are over its “lack” of financial viability as well as environmental and social impact.
- Some of the main concerns put forth are:
- Why is there such an obvious lack of consultation?
- How a debt-ridden state can afford the project?
- Would the train service be affordable given the cost of building it?
- What are the plans are to rehabilitate those displaced?
- What are the ecological costs for tackling climate change and other ecological damage as an effect of this SilverLine project?
-Source: The Hindu, Indian Express