SilverLine: Compensation Upto Four Times Above Market Rates

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:
Misgivings voiced by certain quarters over the proposed SilverLine – the Semi-High Speed Rail corridor connecting Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod are unfounded, according to Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd (K-rail), the implementing agency of the mega project.

Mostly, apprehensions have been raised about the acquisition of land and in a few places protests were orchestrated. But the fact is that the alignment was chosen in such a manner that the line passes through least populated areas with minimum possible land acquisition, and a higher compensation that will be about two to four times the market value will be provided for the acquired land, said V Ajith Kumar, Managing Director, K-Rail, a Joint Venture of the Ministry of Railways and Government of Kerala.

The land acquisition as well as compensation and rehabilitation proceedings will be conducted in a completely transparent manner under the provisions of the Land Acquisition Act of 2013. The propaganda to the contrary are totally baseless. The alignment of SilverLine has skipped populated areas. Houses, other buildings and even trees are entitled for a compensation that will be double the market rates, said Ajith Kumar.

A question has been raised whether laying a new line parallel to the existing Thiruvananthapuram-Mangalore railway line will not be more feasible. The fact is that construction of a new line parallel to the existing one will not solve the present problems, which SilverLine seeks to address. The Thiruvananthapuram-Tirur stretch of the existing line has a large number of curves. A new line laid parallel to that will also have to pass through these points and will fail to achieve the targeted speed of 200 km per hour. However, SilverLine will be running parallel to the existing line from Tirur to Kasaragod since this stretch does not have many sharp turns.

Since SilverLine uses Standard Gauge to reduce extent of land acquisition and it cannot be integrated with the existing Broad Gauge line. Standard Gauge, which is adopted by most countries, has been opted as it is technologically advanced and requires less land compared to Broad Gauge tracks. Adjoining stations are planned in many places to ensure seamless transfer of passengers.

There are also demands from certain places for having more stoppages along the SilverLine than what has been planned. However, people in all places can benefit from SilverLine through proposed last mile connectivity.

SilverLine will generate over 50,000 direct and indirect jobs during the implementation stage and over 11,000 jobs once it becomes operational. Since there will be service roads close to SilverLine, land price will appreciate substantially and improve traffic infrastructure along the line.

At points of crossing with other networks such as rail lines, national and state highways and village roads, Rail Over Bridges (ROBs), flyovers and Rail Under bridges (RUBs) will be built, besides providing suitable span and vertical clearances for movement of people and vehicles. There is no basis for the argument that SilverLine will impede free movement of pedestrians, as there will be facilities for people movement at every 500 metres.

The alignment of SilverLine is routed through areas with low population density and vacant lands. Viaducts (track on pillars) has been planned for 88 km to spare paddy fields and built-up clusters , which will considerably reduce acquisition of land. While the land that has to be acquired for National Highway is 45 metres, SilverLine requires land only in the range of 15-25 metre.

At hilly regions and high density locations like Kozhikode, underground tunnel has been proposed, leaving the normal life undisturbed. Cut and cover technology will be adopted at different places to avoid impact on houses and demolition of houses will also be avoided as far as possible. House lifting technologies will be used wherever possible to shift the affected structures/houses to nearby locations, thereby saving a large number of houses. Retaining walls will be built for the safety of houses close to the corridor.

“The alignment of SilverLine has been finalized after a thorough analysis that took into account all vital factors such as the topography, ridership demand and consistency of soil. While doing this, utmost priority has been given to see that the project is implemented with minimum impact on settlements and livelihoods,” said Ajith Kumar.

The project will serve as stimulant for the post-COVID economic resurgence of the state. It will accelerate the economic activity across sectors by connecting commercial hubs, airports, other major transit points and tourism destinations, making them easily accessible.

SilverLine, which covers a distance of 529.45 km through 11 districts, will be a pollution-free transport option. By optimizing the use of clean energy including solar power, SilverLine will be a clean transportation option. Moreover, Reduction in the number of vehicles on road and a substantial reduction in road accidents is another advantage of SilverLine.

 

Iscea

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