K-Rail hopes to build the rail with a subterranean tunnel, roping in Karnataka government’s equity participation in SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle).
Kerala’s K-Rail, that’s going ahead with its Rs 66,000-crore Silverline semi-highspeed railway, has proposed a tunnel, on the model of Kolkata metro rail, that runs 30 m below the grounds of Bandipur forests. K-Rail hopes to build the rail with a subterranean tunnel, roping in Karnataka government’s equity participation in SPV (Special Purpose Vehicle).
The proposed new rail plan reworks the earlier plan to connect Kadakola in Mysuru and Thalassery in Kerala with an underground tunnel on the model of Kolkata metro rail that crosses Hooghly river, leaving the Bandipur forest reserves undisturbed. This would need a helicopter-borne geophysical survey and field surveys to study the ecological impacts on Bandipur and Nagarholde national parks.
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“Kerala chief secretary has sent the proposal to the Karnataka government. Only after Karnataka’s green signal, we’ll go ahead with the survey and cost estimate,” V Ajith Kumar, MD, K-Rail (Kerala Rail Development Corporation) told FE.
Earlier, Karnataka forest ministry had declined rail plans like Nanjangud- Sultan Batheri- Nilambur in the Kerala-Karnataka intersection, pointing to the ecosensitivity of Bandipur forests. It is in deference to the forest conservation concern, that Kerala has come up with the underground rail tunnel plan. The growing traffic of working and holidaying population between South Karnataka and North Kerala had been irked by the barriers to night travel, in the vicinity of Bandipur forests.
The Pinarayi Vijayan government is leaving no stone unturned to set its infrastructure projects on saddle, before its tenure ends. Last week, the state had tasked its IAS officers Sreevidhya PL and S Karthikeyan to speed up the moves for Thalaserry-Mysuru rail and Silverline rail.
KIIFB will fund major rail infra projects like Silverline, with the support of International Finance Corporation, said state finance minister TM Thomas Isaac.