|The Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has asked the State government to rethink the proposed Thalassery-Mysuru railway project as it would not be beneficial to the State.|
In its feasibility report, the DMRC said the project would benefit only the people of north Kerala beyond Kuttippuram railway station, while for the rest of the State from Parassala to Kuttippuram, the existing rail route would be more convenient.
The rail distance between Thalassery and Mysuru will be 206.51 km, of which the actual construction length will be 190.22 km. The present day estimated cost of the project is ₹5,538 crore, and by the time the project is completed, its cost will be ₹6,685 crore. The cost per km works out to be ₹32 crore.
The expenditure is high on account of the high land costs, long length of 53 km in the Ghats section and the need for a TBM tunnel (length of 11.45 km) to cross over the wildlife sanctuary of Karnataka.
The expected traffic on this line is very low in terms of passenger patronage and quantum of goods carried. As a result, the internal rate of return (IRR) on the project is negative. Even the social benefits reflected by the economic rate of return are also very low, about 6.65% only.
The report pointed out that a new international airport would be commissioned in Kannur this year. There is also a plan to revive the Mysuru airport shortly. Therefore, a part of passenger traffic may shift to that sector.
There is no scope for more industries to come up at the Thalassery-end. Hence, the IRR of the project may not improve in the future.
The State government has another railway line proposed from Nilambur to Nanjangud, which will reduce the rail distance between Shoranur and Mysuru from 617 km to 253 km. The Nilambur-Nanjangud railway line will benefit the entire State and will provide port outlets for Mysuru, Bengaluru, and their hinterland. The State government has already approved the final location survey for the Nilambur-Nanjangud railway line. There is no justification for two railway lines connecting Malabar to Mysuru. “It is, therefore, recommended that until the detailed project report (DPR) of Nilambur- Nanjangud Railway line is available, no further action should be taken on the Thalassery-Mysuru railway proposal,” the report said.