The noted engineer says the Kerala Government is trying to bypass the Railway Board by offering to bear the entire cost of the SilverLine project
Noted engineer E. Sreedharan, who unsuccessfully contested the last Assembly elections as a BJP candidate, has accused the State Government of trying to bypass the Railway Board by offering to bear the entire cost of the SilverLine project to construct a semi-high speed railway line from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod. Terming the project a great folly, he said: “Who authorised this Government to make this impossible commitment? Not our MLAs.”
In a note issued to the press, Mr. Sreedharan said the project was totally against the interests of the State for several reasons, including flawed alignment and technical parameters, wrong cost estimate and unrealistic schedule of competition. The SilverLine would cost ₹75,000 cr at present and more than ₹1,10,000 cr on completion based on the last accepted rates of Delhi Rapid Rail Transit (RRTS), which has a maximum speed of 180 kmph, he said.
Taking a dig at K-Rail, the special purpose vehicle for the project, Mr. Sreedharan said the agency’s claim that SilverLine would be completed by 2025 showed how ignorant the project agency was. “Even the best executing agency in the country, such as the DMRC, will take 8 to 10 years for completing such a project. The Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) has not been able to start even one ROB (railway overbridge) out of 27 entrusted to them in the last five years”, he noted.
Pointing out that more than 20,000 families would have to be relocated for the project, he said it would be unacceptable for a State like Kerala. No traffic survey, no geotechnical survey, no environmental study and no social impact study have been conducted. The DPR prepared is mostly based on assumptions and hypotheses, he noted.
Terming the alignment for the proposed line as flawed, he said, “From Tirur to Kasargod, it is running parallel to the existing railway line. The Railways is opposed to this alignment as it would interfere with the future quadrupling of this stretch. About 140 km run through paddy fields, which are not stable for high speeds.”
Taking a swipe at the LDF Government for blocking the development of the State, Mr. Sreedharan said the railway doubling work in Kerala was dragging on because of the delay in handing over the required land.
“The Nilambur-Nanjangud railway line, extension of the Thrissur-Guruvayur line to Thirunavaya and the Light Metro projects for Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode and the high-speed railway proposed by the LDF Government in 2010 had all failed to take off,” he observed.
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