Alternative to the Thalassery-Mysuru, Nilambur-Nanjangud railway lines, which pass through two tiger reserves
Mysore/Mysuru: After failing to secure the mandatory environmental clearances for the two controversial railway projects between Kerala (Wayanad) and Karnataka via Mysuru, the Kerala government is pushing for a new proposal that will link Wayanad and Kadakola in Mysuru. According to the Kerala government, this line will not go through a reserve forest.
Karnataka has given a cold shoulder to the Kerala government’s two proposals to build railway lines from Thalassery to Mysuru via Kodagu or Wayanad and from Nilambur to Nanjangud. The projects should be implemented by Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL).
But successive governments in Karnataka have opposed the projects as they cut through the Bandipur and Nagarahole tiger reserves and also the sensitive biodiversity areas. Karnataka has repeatedly pointed out environmental destruction and irreparable damage to the environment, ecology and forests and stopped the projects. Pressure tactics put on the center by the Kerala government have also not worked for KRDCL as the Union Ministry of Railways has claimed that the projects will only be approved and commenced if the two states agree.
petitions in court
Petitions were filed by environmental activists at the Karnataka High Court and the court also ruled that the Kerala government must obtain mandatory approval from the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and also the Karnataka Forest Department before it can start the projects .
The Kerala government even proposed the underground route, claiming that if the railway lines are laid underground wherever they pass through the tiger reserves, it will not do much harm.
This proposal was also rejected by Karnataka, who claimed that the sensitive ecology would be damaged while the works were being carried out and even later the groundwater would be depleted if tunnels went deep underground.
With few options left, the Kerala government is pushing for the line that will connect Koyilandy in Kerala’s Kozhikode district to Kadakola in Mysuru via Kalpetta in Kerala.
Krishnarajapura in HD Kote Link
According to reports from Kozhikode, the line will be 190 kilometers long and on the Karnataka side, the railway line will reach Krishnarajapura, a small village in Heggadadevanakote (HD Kote) Taluk of Kerala, and pass through Hampapura and Bidaragodu to Kadakola.
It is reportedly the only line or route between Wayanad and Mysuru districts without disturbing wildlife habitats. If this line becomes a reality, the distance between Kozhikode and Mysuru will be reduced by 230 km compared to the existing distance of 715 km via Bengaluru and 507 km via Mangaluru, reports say.
This lineage also requires environmental permits from the Karnataka and Kerala forest authorities, the State and National Wildlife Boards, as well as the National Tiger Conservation Authority and MoEF&CC. While the Kerala Forest Department’s clearances will be a no-brainer as the project benefits the neighboring state, it remains to be seen how Karnataka will respond to the new line.