K-Rail: DPR approves land acquisition before getting final approval from central govt


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Thiruvananthapuram: The 'detailed plan document' (DPR) of the K-Rail project has approved land acquisition even before getting the final approval from the central government. Based on this, the government has initiated land acquisition process.

DPR states that the land acquisition process can begin as the project has been approved in principle by the Union Ministry of Railways. Further, the DPR states that there is no need to wait for approval from the central government when the state is funding the project. However, the report made it clear that the construction should start only after the final approval.

The report has identified land acquisition as the biggest challenge. Therefore, it recommends that acquisition be completed within the next 12-18 months. Further, the central government has directed that construction can start after 80 per cent of the land has been acquired.

The DPR also pointed out that there will be a need for new legislation to be passed in the Lok Sabha to run high-speed trains with a speed of 200-350 kmph. According to the Indian Railways Act, the maximum speed of trains is fixed at 160 km per hour. Even if the project is completed on time, the train services can start once the new legislation is passed by parliament.

Proposed date of completion of the project

The government claims that the project will be completed by 2025-26. However, the DPR doesn't provide any detail on this. Further, there are also plans for the project to be completed in two phases.

The first phase (260 km) is proposed from Thiruvananthapuram to Thrissur. It is believed that it will take four to four-and-a-half years to be completed. The second phase of the project is planned between Thrissur and Kasaragod (270 km). Both phases can be completed in six to six-and-a-half years. The second phase can be completed smoothly by incorporating the experience of completing the first phase. There are also plans to complete the project in one go if the funds and necessary resources are available in a timely manner.

Rehabilitation

According to DPR, it is suggested that K-Rail Company will build special colonies to house people who will be evicted during the land acquisition process. It suggests building flats with all amenities in the land which will be acquired specially for rehabilitation.

According to the DPR, only 20 per cent (1400) of the 7,000 evicted households would be willing to live in such flats. For them, 10 hectares of land will be acquired to build ten flat complexes in ten places. It is estimated that Rs 1730 crore is required for this. About 15 per cent of the cost of land acquisition for Silver Line will be earmarked for rehabilitation.

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