Jul 7, 2016

Nilambur-Nanjangud rail line gets a new lease of life



Thiruvananthapuram: The Nilgiris-Wayanad National Highway and Railway Action Committee has welcomed the decision of the State government to prepare a comprehensive project report and conduct a final survey of the Nilambur-Sulthan Bathery- Nanjangud rail line.

T. M. Rasheed, convener of the committee, said on Tuesday that the State government had directed E. Sreedharan, Principal Adviser of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), to prepare the detailed project report and final location survey. The government had sanctioned Rs.8 crore for the purpose.

The State government signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Railways on January 27, 2016, to constitute a joint company for executing the project on cost-sharing basis between the State and Railways.
Railways had carried out a survey a decade ago for 236 km of the project and found that the project could be completed at an estimated cost of Rs.6,000 crore. As per the report, the rail line project was included in the railway budget of 2016-17 under extra budgetary resource (EBR) allocation of Rs.6,000 crore.

But a new survey conducted by Mr. Sreedharan as per the direction of the State government had brought down the distance between Nilambur and Nanjangud to 154 km and cost to Rs.3,500 crore, including electrification and construction of a 11 km underground tunnel through forest area.

The line connecting Kerala and Karnataka is expected to bring down travel time between Wayanad and Mysore to one hour and between Wayanad and Bangalore to three hours.

Rs. 1 cr. earmarked

The State budget for 2016-17 had also earmarked Rs.1 crore for the project. The budgetary allocation in 2014-15 was Rs.5 crore for the project.

As the project had been included in the EBR, the project could materialise by constituting a company and fund for the purpose could be mobilised through foreign direct investment or agencies in the country, Mr. Rasheed said. It is expected that the survey proceedings could be completed in nine months, he said.

State asks E. Sreedharan to prepare detailed project report and final location survey