Centre urged to drop Angamali-Azhutha railway line

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Kottayam, Jul 31 (UNI) The Karshaka Raksha Samithi today urged the Centre to drop the proposed Angamali-Azhutha railway line to the famed Sabarimala hill shrine.

Talking to mediapersons here, Samiti leaders and Mr P C George, MLA, pointed out that the study conducted by the Kerala Forest Research Institute and Kerala Biodiversity Board had found that the proposed railway line was 'unscientific.' The study was conducted on the basis of a Kerala High Court directive on a petition filed by the Karshaka Raksha Samithi to drop the project.

According to the study report, released yesterday, the proposed line meandered its way for 130.9 km through midlands and hilly uplands. The alignment had been changed several times at the instance of people and the present one was unscientific.

The line would affect a total of 1,273 residential buildings in the three districts of Ernakulam, Idukki and Kottayam. At least 2,429 families would suffer loss of land. About 515 hectares of land would have to be acquired for the project and a significant amount of wetlands would be destroyed. About 12 km of the alignment, up to Kanamala, would be passing through the eco-sensitive zone of Periyar Tiger Reserve, the study pointed out.

The study had recommended that as a majority of pilgrims alight at Chengannur, the feasibility of a much shorter Chengannur-Erumeli railway line should be explored.

UNI VST CR DS AM VC1712

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