Question mark over Sabari Railway Line

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Kochi, Jul 31 (UNI) With the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) study on the Sabari Rail Project terming it ''unviable and superfluous'', a question mark looms large over the proposed rail link to Sabarimala.

The EIA, conducted by the Kerala Forest Research Institute for the Kerala State Biodiversity Board (KSBB), concluded that the project would cause huge ecological and social disruption, ''and hence the project is not recommended.'' Dr R V Varma, Member-Secretary, KSBB, told UNI that the EIA was submitted to the State Government earlier this month.

''We are not against the setting up of rail facilities for the Sabarimala pilgrims. However, the project in question was not found to be viable. It was found that the development of the Chengannur-Erumeli line would serve the pilgrims without causing large scale environmental and social dislocations,'' he added.

The proposed Rs 550 crore Sabari line from Angamali to Azhutha, covering nearly 180 km, has been hanging in fire for the past several years.

The Kerala High Court had also issued notice to the State Government recently on a petition seeking an alternative rail route.

Meanwhile, the State unit of the BJP, which had been at the forefront of the demand for the Sabari line, today said it would discuss the matter at its next state committee meeting and decide the future course of action. Party Kerala General Secretary A N Radhakrishnan informed this tomediapersons here.

UNI ARC GD AKJ AS1845

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