The railway line wants to pass through pristine forests of Coorg, the forests are the main catchment area for Kaveri River. Image: Manish Pandey
New Delhi: Elected representatives from Kerala seem to be lobbying hard for the implementation of the controversial Thalassery-Mysuru Railway Line that will pass through lush green forests in South Kodagu despite opposition to the project from residents of Kodagu and Mysuru and environmentalists.
MPs from the neighbouring State have been raising this issue in Lok Sabha and the latest question was raised by Mullapally Ramachandran on Jan. 2 this year where the MP asked the Railway Minister whether the feasibility study of Thalassery-Mysuru Railway Line has been completed and Detailed Project Report (DPR) has been submitted and if so, the details thereof and the decision taken in this regard.
The line from Thalassery will cut through Manandavadi, green belt of Kutta, Kanoor, Balele, Thithimathi and Anechowkur to Mysuru and has a length of 180 kilometres. The estimated project cost is Rs. 5,000 crore.
Replying to Mullapally Ramachandran in writing, Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain said that the feasibility report for Thalassery-Periyapatna (Mysuru) line submitted by Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL), a Joint Venture Company of Government of Kerala and Ministry of Railways, has been prepared in January 2018.
“The feasibility report has been prepared without any survey on ground and there is no assessment of the impact of Railway Line in the forest zone involving fragile ecosystem and protected forest areas/sanctuaries,” the Minister stated.
“Local people are also agitating against the proposed alignment which passes through the State of Karnataka.
Accordingly, KRDCL has been advised to sort out the issues of forest clearances and alignment with all the stakeholders involved including Government of Karnataka and thereafter, update the report for appropriate consideration of the proposed new line,” the Minister stated in his reply.
Despite the stiff opposition from the people of Karnataka, especially in Kodagu, the Kerala government had ordered preparation of DPR of Thalassery-Mysuru railway line on a cost-sharing basis between the Railways and KRDCL.
While a 49-km stretch passes through the forests of Kerala, about 35-km stretch passes through the ecologically sensitive areas of Karnataka, including 11 km through the Nagarahole Tiger Reserve.
It may be mentioned here that Mullapally Ramachandran, had on 25.7.2018, raised a similar question on the feasibility report and the DPR. Replying to the MP, Minister Rajen Gohain had stated that as per KRDCL report, the cost of construction of 180-kilometre line has been assessed at Rs. 5,000 crore.
Here too, the Minister had stated that the KRDCL report has been prepared without any survey on ground and without studying the impact of railway line in the forest zone. Considering that the local people are against the project, the Minister advised the MP to get the project cleared (including forest clearances) by the government of Karnataka.