THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A Detailed Project Report (DPR) will be prepared for the proposed railway corridor from Thalassery to Mysuru, conceived 58 years ago for better connectivity to Bengaluru and development of Malabar, based on a feasibility study carried out by Railways.
The decision ignores the feasibility report of the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), which found that the project would not be beneficial as only the people of north Kerala beyond Kuttippuram would benefit.
The preparation of the DPR is to be entrusted to public sector undertakings under Railways such as RITES and Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation (MRVC). Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd. (KRDCL), the joint venture set up for the cost-sharing of viable projects by the State and Railways, would make the choice, official sources said.
The rail corridor is placed second on the priority list among the cost-sharing projects. The Rapid Rail Transit System on the 125.65-km Thiruvananthapuram Central-Chengannur stretch for short distance commuters tops the list in Phase I and the MRVC has submitted the DPR to the government.
Further, the government is determined to get the rail line as it will give extended connectivity to the Kannur international airport to be commissioned in 2018, trigger development of Malabar, and give a fillip to the tourism sector.
As per a survey estimate with the Railway Board, the 247.5-km line between Thalassery and Mysuru via Wayanad will cost ₹3,209.01 crore and the 298.75 km via Coorg, ₹3,778.71 crore. But Railways did not go ahead with the proposal terming it unviable.
Following pressure from local people, the DMRC under Principal Adviser E. Sreedharan was roped in for a feasibility study. The DMRC, in its report, said the rail line needed to be laid on 190.22 km of the 206.51 km Thalassery-Mysuru stretch. The DMRC had mentioned as hurdles the high cost (₹6,685 crore), 53-km Ghats section, need for a 11.45-km TBM tunnel across a wildlife sanctuary of Karnataka, and low traffic.