KOZHIKODE: The railway budget has allocated two new lines for Malabar with Rs 6,000 crore for Nilambur-Nanjangud line and Rs 400 crore for Kannur-Mattannur line connecting Kannur airport.
Both the allocations are made under Extra Budgetary Resources (EBR) partnership mode which means both the state government and the union government have to bear the cost through the formation of a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV).
For the Nilambur-Nanjangud line, survey has already been done but the intervention of Metroman E. Sreedharan has resulted in the recent decision of Union railway ministry to conduct a re-survey.
The route mooted by Mr Sreedharan had reduced the distance between Nilambur and Nanjangud from 236 km to 156 km. The cost also came down from the previous Rs 4,266 crore to Rs 2,200 crore.
The proposed route starts from Nilambur in Malappuram district and moves through Nilgiri district (Tamil Nadu) and Nanjangud in Karnataka. Kerala and Karnataka had signed an agreement on constituting the SPV for executing the joint project with the Union railway ministry.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had recently inked an agreement with the railway ministry on sharing the cost of the project on 50 percent basis between the state and the railways.
Mr T.M. Rasheed, action committee convener, Nilgiri-Wayanad national highway and railway, told DC that if the line materialises, one could reach Bangalore from Kochi in seven hours. It will also put Wayanad on the railway map.
The 23-km Kannur-Mattannur line offers connectivity to Kannur airport, which is expected to be operational by mid-September. Though the preliminary survey for the line has been completed, no technical feasibility survey has been done. This line will also come under the SPV which is yet to be formed.