Demand to probe ‘sabotage’ of Nilambur-Nanjangud project

The Nilgiri-Wayanad NH and Railway Action Committee has demanded a comprehensive probe by a Central agency into the “sabotage” of the proposed Nilambur-Nanjangud rail line in the wake of the revelation made by E. Sreedharan, Principal Adviser to the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), that the State government decided to favour the infeasible Thalassery-Mysuru rail project.

Committee convener T.M. Rasheed said the disclosure by Mr. Sreedharan pointed to the fact that a conspiracy had been hatched to sabotage the railway project that would have been beneficial to the people of Malabar. The railway budget in 2016 had proposed an allocation of ₹3,000 crore. But the move to divert the allocation for the proposed Thalassery-Mysuru project led to the sabotage of the Nilambur-Nanjangud rail line, he alleged.

Mr. Rasheed said the State government had tasked the DMRC with preparing the detailed project report for the Nilambur-Nanjangud rail line project. Mr. Sreedharan then held a meeting to review the project with elected representatives and other officials at Kalpetta on January 9, 2017. Subsequently, Minister for Public Works G. Sudhakaran called a convention at the Kalpetta Town Hall on February 6, 2017 and officially announced the project.

The State government issued an order on February 11, 2017, transferring an amount of ₹2 crore out of the sanctioned ₹8 crore to the account of DMRC. However, some vested interests intimidated government officials from transferring the funds, he said. Later, the DMRC was removed from all government projects, he added.

The government apprised the Centre that the State did not object to a rail line project through a tunnel in Bandipur tiger reserve. Thus they approached the Karnataka government for the purpose for securing the approval of the Wildlife Department, said Mr. Rasheed.

He said the DMRC which carried out a survey had pointed out that the Thalassery-Mysuru rail project was infeasible. The State government then entrusted the project to Konkan Railway Corporation Limited, he added.

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