Nilambur–Nanjangud Railway line possible without disturbing Wildlife: Sreedharan

We’ve given a proposal involving tunnel construction using TMBs: Sreedharan

Tiruvananthapuram: Principal adviser to Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) E. Sreedharan said the proposed Nilambur–Nanjangud railway line could be implemented without disturbing wildlife in the Bandipur Wildlife Reserve, through which a stretch of the proposed line would pass.

The DMRC has been entrusted by the Kerala government to prepare a detailed project report. Mr. Sreedharan met Chief Minister Siddaramaiah on Friday to discuss the proposal.

“The Forest Department has genuine concerns as the line passes through reserved areas. We have given a proposal involving tunnel construction with the use of tunnel-boring machines (TBMs), which would cause minimum impact to surrounding areas,” said Mr. Sreedharan. Part of the proposal includes a 11-km underground stretch passing through Bandipur Wildlife Sanctuary.

Assistant Principle Conservator of Forests C. Jayaram said the Forest Department had yet to receive a proposal for the railway line. “The Kerala government has roped in Mr. Shreedharan to prepare a DPR. It requires detailed deliberation as part of the line passes through a national sanctuary. These are sensitive areas and wildlife and environment clearance is required before the project gets under way,” said Mr. Jayaram.

Prakash Mandoth, former member of the Zonal Railway User’s Consultative Committee, said three proposed lines — the Nilambur–Nanjangud, Thalassery–Mysuru and Chamarajnagar–Mettupalayam line — would greatly reduce travel time from Karnataka to Kerala and Tamil Nadu. “If the Nilambur line becomes a reality, major goods and passenger traffic to Kerala can be rerouted through it. However implementation should be done balancing environment and ecology,” he added. He also said it would reduce time to Thiruvananthapuram by up to seven hours.

The Nilambur–Nanjangud project has been in the cold storage for nearly a decade. A resurvey conducted by Mr. Sreedharan had brought down the distance for the proposed line between Nilambur and Nanjangud to 154 km, from the earlier proposal of 236 km.