Reiterating that there is no going back on the Thiruvananthapuram-Kasargod SilverLine semi-high speed rail project, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said every effort will be made to lessen the project’s impact, for which a study is underway to lessen the number of (9,000 odd) buildings that ought to be taken over.
Alternatives suggested like increasing the speed of trains by straightening the over 600 curves on the existing railway network will not yield the desired result, since that could entail more land acquisition than for SilverLine, on a densely built corridor, he said, at an outreach programme on the proposed rail corridor, hosted in Kochi on January 6.
Referring to concerns of large-scale flooding on either side of the 530 km corridor which is estimated to cost ₹63, 941 cr, he said a hydrographic survey is on to assess this, wherein the high water marks of floods and high tide during the past century will be considered. The existing railway line too is built on an embankment, he said, referring to concerns of SilverLines embankment causing flooding.
In addition, care has been taken to stay clear of ecologically fragile areas and wildlife sanctuaries.
Laying of boundary stones (which has met with stiff resistance in many places) will help ensure that the project causes least social impact.
Speaking of NH, GAIL gas pipeline and Kudankulam power highway projects that were or are being executed overcoming initial opposition, Mr. Vijayan exhorted people to ponder “If not now, when?” about SilverLine. “We may not be able to make up for lost chances,” he said.
The project will complement the ongoing NH developments, and the Kovalam-Bekal waterway projects, he said.
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