Karnataka Govt. wake up. Don’t allow Karnataka air-space for survey
The proposed Railway line from Thalassery via Wayanad in Kerala to Mysuru via H.D. Kote, Kadakola and Mysuru will destroy pristine forests of Western Ghats causing irreparable and permanent damage to the ecology of the rain-bearing forests and destabilising the earth-crust of the geographical area of the Western Ghats. Just as physical survey was not permitted in Karnataka, this aerial survey too should not be permitted.
Mysore/Mysuru: After being denied permission by Karnataka despite repeated requests from the Kerala Government for the proposed Thalassery-Mysuru Railway line project, the neighbouring State has initiated a state-of-the-art aerial survey (heli survey) to map the entire route via Wayanad to Mysuru via Manandavadi to measure the extent of green cover, land use patterns and other below-the-surface details.
Following an adverse report
by the Forest Department that pristine forests of Western Ghats will be destroyed if the project is implemented, the Karnataka Government has stalled the project till now.
The ambitious 180.46-km project, costing more than Rs. 5,000 crore, has been listed under the ‘priority projects’ by the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (K-Rail).
K-Rail is a joint venture company under the Kerala State Government and the Ministry of Railways.
The aerial survey has been entrusted to the Konkan Railway Corporation Limited (KRCL) that has submitted a pre-feasibility report. The physical survey was, however, not permitted in Karnataka due to stiff opposition. The proposed rail line connects Thalassery, Panoor, Vilangad, Niravilpuzha, Tharuvana, Kalpetta, Meenangady and Pulpally in Kerala and H.D. Kote, Kadakola and Mysuru in Karnataka.
Now the Konkan Railway is using heli-borne geophysical mapping technique to survey the area from Thalassery to Mysuru via Wayanad. Reports from Kerala say that the KRCL is using the services of the CSIR-National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI), Hyderabad, for the survey.
The helicopter flying above the route will be attached with electromagnetic instruments and would be flown at a low altitude of 50 metres. The instruments would provide high-resolution three-dimensional images of the area and will also map the sub-surface up to a depth of 500 metres below the ground, reports said.
Apart from mapping the green cover, the hi-tech survey would also study the structure of the soil, rock formations, underground water sources and marshy lands. On Nov. 23, teams from KRCL and NGRI conducted a trial run of the survey at Sultan Batheri. The main advantages of the heli-borne geophysical survey was that it is fast, highly data dense, precise and economical, said reports.
Reports said that the base of the survey has been set up on the helipad near St. Mary’s College ground at Sultan Batheri near Gundlupet in Mysuru District. While the first phase of the survey would be conducted from Sultan Batheri to Manandavadi, the survey team would next focus on Thalassery and Mysuru.
The Kerala Government feels that the broad-gauge line would not only boost the socio-economic development of tribal areas of Kannur and Wayanad, but also provide a direct rail link from Central Malabar to Mysuru and Bengaluru. The proposed eastbound direct line will be 240-km-long and will take just 5 hours to reach Mysuru.
The proposed Railway line passes through nearly 84-km of thick forests covering 49-km in Kerala and 35-km in Karnataka that are rich repositories of biological diversity having large chunks of tropical evergreen forest, the Karnataka Forest Department argued. Last year, the Ministry of Railways had asked the Kerala Government not to go ahead with the survey for the project until it received the approval from the Karnataka Government. The latest proposal also includes a lengthy tunnel under the Kabini River so as to save the wildlife tracts of Wayanad Wildlife Sanctuary, Bandipur Tiger Reserve and the Nagarahole National Park. This is the reason why the below surface data is being studied, reports added.