Thiruvananthapuram-Kanur High-speed Rail corridor back in the reckoning

85 p.c. of cost and technology can be sourced from Japan: E. Sreedharan

hsr keralaThiruvananthauram: With the Thiruvananthapuram-Kannur high-speed rail (HSR) figuring in the Communist Party of India (M)’s development agenda, the 430-km north-south rail corridor that is expected to give a boost to the economy and make travel hassle-free has shot into the limelight again.

State Planning Board Member in charge of Transport E. Sreedharan is of the view that a strategy similar to the one adopted by the Centre for the Mumbai-Ahmedabad HSR was needed for Kerala.

“In that case, about 85 per cent of the cost and technology can be sourced from Japan with a moratorium of 10 years and repayment period of another 30 years and with a low interest rate of only 0.3 per cent for the loans,” he said. The Centre’s investment would be about Rs.7,500 crore and that by the State Rs.15,000 crore.

Mr. Sreedharan, who is also the Principal Adviser, Delhi Metro Rail Corporation, said the Detailed Project Report will be submitted in March to the government.

The HSR will have a speed potential of 350 km per hour and Thiruvananthapuram to Kollam can be covered in 20 minutes, Kochi in 53 minutes, Kozhikode in 98 minutes, and Kannur in two hours.

Trains will run every 15 minutes during peak hours and every 30 minutes during non-peak hours although the line will have the capacity to run trains every 3 minutes, if needed.

Of the total 430 km to Kannur, the rail line will be elevated over 190 km and underground for 146 km. The land to be acquired will be 600 hectares. The affected structures are 3,868 and affected trees about 37,000. In the opening year, about a lakh passengers per day are expected to travel, which will go up to 1.25 lakh by 2025 and 1.75 lakh by 2040.

The level of patronage can make the HSR financially self-supporting, he added. If the project is implemented as a joint venture with the Railways, the expenditure for land acquisition could be reduced to a great extent.  Moreover, the speed of the trains, which will be around 300 km/hour, can be decided according to the requirement.

In future, construction of an expressway may also be required in the State, given the enormous number of vehicles hitting the roads. The best option is to have an elevated highway, with the main portion of it built over the the existing national highway. Then, the need for national highways with 45 metre width will arise, as a portion of the divider area of the road will have to be used for the pillars of the elevated highway.   As of now, the high-speed rail should be our top priority, because the sustainable growth of the State will be possible only by reducing dependency on roads

The HSR will also bring down road accidents by almost 30 per cent.

DMRC to ink interim consultancy deal with Kerala Rapid Transit Corp.

The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (DMRC) will provide the interim consultancy services for the Kerala Rapid Transit Corporation Ltd (KRTC)’s light metro projects planned in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.

An agreement in this regard will be signed between KRTC and DMRC on Wednesday . The board of KRTC has decided to give 0.1% of the total project cost – around Rs 6 crore – as consultancy fee to DMRC.

The DMRC, which has been vying for the turnkey consultancy of the Rs 6,728 crore projects, was given interim consultancy due to last minute intervention of chief minister Oommen Chandy. KRTC managing director P I Sheik Pareeth confirmed that agreement will be signed between the KRTC and the DMRC on Wednesday . Pareeth said that DMRC will be in charge of preparatory works of the light metros in both the cities.

The role of interim consultant includes preparation of land acquisition proposal, preparing specifications for procurement of rolling stocks, consultations with prospective players, utility shifting plans, preparation and finalization of tender documents, preparation of estimate and preliminary works for flyovers in the light metro route, providing assistance to the state and the KRTC regarding various queries, etc.

The finance department had opposed the government’s plan to give turnkey consultancy to DMRC on nomination basis. They opposed it citing that the multi-crore project must be awarded only through global tender. The delay in getting consultancy contract irked the DMRC, which announced its plans to close down its offices in Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.

Based on the letter sent by DMRC principal adviser E Sreedharan, chief minister Oommen Chandy had directed KRTC to appoint DMRC as interim consultant last month.Sources said that the decision was taken without consulting with other cabinet ministers.

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