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Current Affairs

Kerala’s SilverLine project

Date: 24 December 2021 Tags: Infrastructure

Issue

Wide-scale protests are taking place in Kerala against SilverLine project, which envisages a semi-high speed train running between the state’s northern and southern ends.

 

Background

The project involves constructing a dedicated rail network where trains can run at the speed of 200 km/h. It is one of the biggest infrastructure plans being pushed by the current government.

 

Details                 

  • The length of the rail network is about 530 km and will link Thiruvananthapuram in the south to Kasaragod in the north.

  • It will pass through 11 districts of the state. People will be able to travel from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram in about four hours.

 

Implementation

The project will be executed by the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) or K-Rail, which is a joint venture between Kerala government and the Union Ministry of Railways.

 

Need for the project

  • Currently, the travelling time from north to south takes about 12 hours.  The project will be able to cover the distance in 4 hours, saving time.

  • The existing route is full of curves and bends and they will not be able to cater to future generation.

  • The project will take off significant load of traffic from roads, thus making journey safer for commuters.

  • The government has claimed that the project will reduce greenhouse emissions, integrate airports and IT corridors and help in faster development of cities.

 

Features of project

  • The project will have trains of electric multiple unit (EMU) type, having nine cars extendable to 12. It can seat a maximum of 675 passengers in business and standard class settings.

  • Out of 11 stations, three stations will be elevated, one will be underground and the rest will be at grade.

  • The project is expected to be executed using equity funds from the Kerala government, the Centre and loans from multilateral lending agencies.

 

Protests

  • Opposing parties say that the project will push the state further into debts. There are also fears of potential scams.

  • The project is expected to displace more than 30,000 families. The route will cut through precious wetlands, paddy fields and hills, causing ecological harm.