Metro man meets CM over Nilambur-Nanjangud rail line

 Principal Adviser to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, E Sreedharan met Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday, to discuss a joint survey for the proposed Nilambur-Nanjangud railway line.

The railway line, proposed nearly a decade ago, was in cold storage till the Kerala government asked Sreedharan to prepare a detailed project report for the project.

While the railways made a proposal for 236-km project at a cost of Rs 6,000 crore, Sreedharan conducted a new survey and proposed a 154-km route at a cost of Rs 3,500 crore.

The Kerala government and the railways signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU), last year, to execute the project on a cost-sharing basis.

As per the MoU, a joint venture company will work on the project, which will cut the travel time between Mysuru and Wayanad from more than three hours to around one hour.

About 74 km of the line lies in Karnataka. The major challenge for the project, which goes through Bandipur reserved forests area, is to get approval from the forest department in Karnataka.

According to reports, Sreedharan has proposed 11-km underground tunnel in the forest area. However, sources in the forest department said clearance for the project was unlikely. “No survey has been done and we can’t allow such a project because of environmental issues,” they said.

A previous proposal of the project was stonewalled by the forest officials in Karnataka. In the present situation, where drought has led to many problems in the Bandipur forests area, officials may not welcome such a project.

Sources in the government said even the Kerala forest department has problems with the project. DH could not get reaction from Kerala forest officials despite many attempts.

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