After Karnataka cites ecological damage… Kerala to float fresh proposal to link Wayanad and Kadakola
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After Karnataka cites ecological damage… Kerala to float fresh proposal to link Wayanad and Kadakola

November 10, 2022

Alternative to Thalassery-Mysuru, Nilambur-Nanjangud Railway lines that pass through two Tiger Reserves

Mysore/Mysuru: After failing to procure mandatory environment clearances to the two controversial Railway projects between Kerala (Wayanad) and Karnataka via Mysuru, the Kerala Government is pushing for a fresh proposal that will link Wayanad and Kadakola in Mysuru. According to the Kerala Government, this line will not pass through any reserve forest.

Karnataka has cold-shouldered the two proposals of the Kerala Government to construct railway lines from Thalassery to Mysuru via Kodagu or Wayanad and from Nilambur to Nanjangud. The projects were scheduled to 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 cited environmental degradation and irreparable damage to environment, ecology and forests and has stalled the projects. The pressure tactics exerted by the Kerala Government on the Centre too did not work for KRDCL as the Union Railway Ministry has maintained that the projects will be approved and taken up only if the two States agree.

Petitions in Court

Petitions were filed in the Karnataka High Court by environmental activists and the Court too ruled that the Kerala Government has to procure mandatory permission from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) and also from the Karnataka Forest Department before taking up the projects.

The Kerala Government even suggested the underground route and claimed that if the Railway lines are laid underground wherever it passes through the Tiger Reserves, it will not cause much damage.

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This proposal too was turned down by Karnataka that maintained that the sensitive ecology would be harmed while executing the works and even later, groundwater will deplete if tunnels run deep inside the earth.

Left with little options, the Kerala Government is pushing for the line that will link Koyilandy in Kozhikode district in Kerala to Kadakola in Mysuru via Kalpetta in Kerala.

Krishnarajapura in H.D. Kote link

Reports from Kozhikode said that the line will be 190 kilometres in length and on the Karnataka’s side, the Railway route will reach Krishnarajapura, a small village in Heggadadevanakote (H.D. Kote) taluk from Kerala and will pass through Hampapura and Bidaragodu to reach Kadakola.

As per reports, this is the only line or route between Wayanad and Mysuru districts without disturbing the wildlife habitats. If this line becomes a reality, the distance between Kozhikode and Mysuru will be reduced by 230 kms as against the existing distance of 715 kms via Bengaluru and 507 kms via Mangaluru, reports said.

Even for this line, environmental clearances will have to be obtained from the Forest Departments of Karnataka and Kerala, State and National Wildlife Boards and also from the National Tiger Conservation Authority and MoEF&CC. While the clearances from Kerala Forest Department will be a cakewalk as the project will benefit the neighbouring State, it remains to be seen how Karnataka will respond to the new line.

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