Kerala’s Silver-Line Project

Kerala’s Silver-Line Project

Why in news?

Kerala Government is facing Protests against its semi high-speed railway project, which envisions connecting northern and southern ends of the state.

What is it?

Silver-Line Railway Project– The SilverLine Project call for constructing a semi high-speed railway corridor to connect Kasaragod with the state capital Thiruvananthapuram in four hours and to connect metropolitan Kochi with rest of the state in two hours.

The project is seen as one of the biggest infrastructure venture proposed by the ruling government, costing nearly Rs.64,000 crore.

Silver line Railway project

The line is proposed to be around 530 km and the trains speed is expected to be 200kmph to reduce the total travel time to less than 4 hours between North and South ends compare to the current travel time of 12 hours. The intermediate stations include Kollam, Chengannur, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Kochi Airport, Thrissur, Tirur, Kozhikode and Kannur.

The project is being carried out by the Kerala Rail Development Corporation (KRDC) known as K-Rail, is a joint venture company of Kerala government and Ministry of Railways, formed to develop railway infrastructure in Kerala

Project Features-

  • 100% reliance on renewable energy sources.
  • Reduction in Green-House Gas emissions due to a shift from conventional transport to SilverLine.
  • Scientific waste management.
  • Reduction of fuel consumption.
  • Clean mode of transport.
  • Noise mitigation.
  • Substantial reduction in road accidents due to decongestion on roads.
  • Introduction of RORO facilities leads to transport of vehicles such as trucks, lorries, etc. in an environment friendly manner
  • Last mile connectivity by providing cab feeder services, share auto services, eBus services, bicycle/bike rental schemes
  • E-charging facilities for individual electric vehicles
  • Integration with Trivandrum and Kochi Airport
  • Connecting IT corridors – Technopark and Infopark
  • 50,000 direct and indirect employment opportunities during construction period of 5 years.
  • 10,000 employment opportunities during post project operation period.
  • Synergised development of cities, leading to overall acceleration in the development of the state.
  • Under passage at every 500m of the corridor and provision of service roads along the alignment, boosts the value of land locked property.
    • CCTV surveillance in trains and stations.
    • Customer care facility.
    • Security staff at all stations.
    • Zero tolerance towards drunkards and trouble makers.
    • Feeding rooms
    • Extra-wide gates.
    • Wheelchair docking facilities in every coach.
    • Tactile paths.
    • Exclusive friendly toilets.
    • Ramps at stations.
    • Handrails.
    • Braille letters in lifts and AFC gates.
    • Voice guidance in ticket vending machines.

Need of the project

Kerala is a small state and its population is about 3.45 crore. The urban policy experts argue that the existing railway network of the state is not flexible to meet future demand.

There are excessive crossings and sharp curves, which limits the average speed of railways (45 km/hr) and road transport below to other regions of the country. The project is expected to reduce the traffic of existing railway and road network, and to minimize the number of accidents and fatalities.

Positives of project

  • Reduce vehicular pressure, as Kerala has 441 vehicles per 1,000 people.
  • Swift transport of mass consumed items.
  • Enhanced and efficient movement of visitors between destinations to boost tourism.
  • Direct and indirect employment opportunities.

Why is the project facing opposition?

  • Financial burden: The project can impact the state’s finances that may hamper investment in other projects.
  • Huge displacement: It needs to acquire the 1,200 hectares of private land, which results as the displacement and rehabilitation of about 10,000 families.
  • Environmental concerns: The route passes through the paddy fields and hills will cause huge environmental harm.
  • The embankments elevating the track approximately for 300 km may enhance the intensity of flooding.

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