Kerala Rail Development Corporation(K-Rail) is a venture to work on developing railway infrastructure in Kerala
The Kerala government seems to be reconsidering the alignment of K-Rail for reasons beyond technicality. The apprehension is regarding the silver line projects route through the coastal region of Kerala.
The director of Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd (KRDCL) wrote a letter to Systra revealing the state’s fear that the silver line project going through the coastal region might cause disruptions in the social harmony of the community. Systra is the consultancy that prepared reports on the feasibility of the silver line project.
The letter in question is from 25 March 2019. It was sent after the pre-feasibility report was submitted by the team from Systra. The team was headed by Alok Kumar Verma who was a former Railway Chief Engineer. He later became a consultant with Systra.
Alok Verma said, “The economically and technically viable alignment of Silver Line was through the coastal belt of Kerala. But the alignment was later changed to the midland to protect the vested interests of some. It would now mainly serve the purpose of some realtors, money lenders and technology providers. The coastal alignment was then fixed taking into account the various aspects of CRZ norms.”
The alignment was supposed to be along the coastal region. This was to avoid the hill, low valleys and mountains. However, the letter states that the path through the coastal region would violate Coastal Region Zone (CRZ) rules in addition to causing social disharmony.
Reportedly the government insisted in many of the meetings conducted that the socio-economic background of the state needs to be taken into consideration before making any final decision on the silver line project.
Moreover, the construction of a project like the silver line along the coastal region would require the construction of heavy foundation structures. This would cause an abnormal escalation of the coast and will increase the cost of the project. The government said that the project should focus more on suburban regions as those regions are where economic growth takes place at higher levels.
Published by: Diwakar Kumar
Edited by: Aaradhana Singh