136 Km Ernakulam-Madurai Railway line proposal remains on paper

Ernakulam Jn (ERS):  At a time when the state government is deliberating on the high-speed rail project for Kerala, the  proposed Ernakulam-Madurai rail project which will possibly benefit thousands of people in the high ranges, has fallen into official oblivion. The Rs.4,000-crore project has failed to be taken up as a serious project both by politicians as well as administrative officers in the state. Though the Ernakulam Regional Transport Office was earlier assigned the task of conducting a vehicular traffic survey in this region on the possibilities of beginning a rail line from here as part of the project, it was not carried out yet.

Official sources with the land acquisition wing at the Ernakulam district administration cited that though they had submitted  requests to the Ernakulam RTO over an year ago to undertake the vehicular traffic survey, they are yet to receive the details.

“Last year, we received an order from the Madurai Division of the Southern Railways seeking a report on the vehicular traffic in Ernakulam and what are the possible areas that would be affected if the rail route is constructed from here. It is the RTO that is supposed to undertake the vehicle traffic survey . Unless we receive the report, we won’t be able to submit it to the Railway officials at Madurai. We have also informed the RTO at Muvatupuzha about this,” the officials with the land acquisition said.

The Ernakulam-Madurai rail line is expected to link Thripunithura to Theni district in Tamil Nadu. The rail which begins from Tripunithura will pass through Thiruvankulam, Vennikulam, Kolenchery, Muvattupuzha, Nelimatom, Thattekad, Neryamangalam, Panakutty, Chinnar, Chola, Udumbum and finally reach Theni through Bodanur.

The total estimated distance of the rail line is 136 km and the estimated cost is Rs.4,000 crore.

“A feasibility study on the area of land that will be acquired for the implementation of the project as well as the roads through which the rail route will pass is a major step. Sometimes, the rail line will also have to pass through several junctions which will have to be taken into consideration,” said Dani Thomas, Chief Administrative Officer, Kerala.

However, Ernakulam RTO B J Antony said that they have never been approached with the request. Coimbatore MP P R Natarajan, who has been keen on his demands for the Ernakulam-Madurai rail project to be made a reality, the authorities said.