Bommai Rejects Kerala CM’s Railway Project Proposals
Bengaluru: The bilateral talks held between the Governments of Kerala and Karnataka here on various projects failed to yield results as Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai turned down the proposals of his counterpart Pinarayi Vijayan, citing environmental concerns.
Bommai rejected all the key infrastructure-related proposals of Kerala, saying it will damage the Eco-Sensitive Zones (ESZs) and wildlife sanctuaries. Vijayan called on Bommai in Bengaluru yesterday to hold discussions on various projects and issues of mutual interest, as decided at the South Zonal Council meeting.
The projects that Vijayan and Bommai discussed were Kanhangad-Kaniyur Railway Line via Panathur, Thalassery-Mysuru Railway Line, an underground tunnel passing through Bandipur National Park, and a proposal to increase bus services at night in this ESZ.
Addressing reporters after the meeting, Bommai said that the Kerala Government sought cooperation for its various Railway and Highway projects. The proposed Kanhangad-Kaniyur Rail Line project has a 40-km route in Kerala and 31-km in Karnataka.
“However, this project is not very beneficial for Karnataka. Besides, it will pass through the rich bio-diversity and ecologically sensitive areas of the Western Ghats that are declared Tiger and Elephant Corridors. So, the Kerala CM was clearly told that it was not possible for Karnataka to give extended co-operation for this project.”
“… the Railways had said that it will review the project if both the States agree to it. We rejected it because there is no benefit to Karnataka from this Railway Line,” he said.
Another Railway project that the State rejected was the Thalassery-Mysuru Railway Line.
Vijayan discussed the old project of the Thalassery-Mysuru route and he was told that it was not possible to give permission as the proposed rail route will traverse through Bandipur-Nagarahole National Parks and it will cause great damage to flora and fauna, Bommai said.
The Kerala Chief Minister proposed the construction of an underground rail route and even it was rejected flatly as it would damage the environment during the construction activities.
Vijayan was informed that presently, two buses are operated during the night through Bandipur National Highway, but he sought permission to allow four buses and that proposal was also rejected, Bommai pointed out.
He said Vijayan also told him that the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has proposed a new alignment touching the NH-73. He also apprised Bommai that this new alignment will not pass through the ESZs.
“We don’t know what proposal the NHAI officials are coming up with. Let the NHAI give us a proposal. However, we will not allow any project in ESZ, be it Nagarahole or Bandipur National Park,” Bommai clarified.