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The SilverLine Project

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January 20, 2022

Why in news?

The critical voices have grown in strength against the Kerala government’s SilverLine rail project.

What is the SilverLine rail project?

  • The proposed 529.45-km line will link Thiruvananthapuram in the south to Kasaragod in the north, covering 11 districts through 11 stations.
  • When the project is completed, one can travel from Kasaragod to Thiruvananthapuram in less than four hours at 200 km/hr compared to 12 hours now.
  • The deadline for the project, being executed by the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL), is 2025.
  • KRDCL, or K-Rail, is a joint venture between the Kerala government and the Union Ministry of Railways created to execute big railway projects.


What are the positives of the proposed project?

  • Reduces the pressure on Kerala’s heavily choked 1,800 km highways
  • Fast high quality connectivity
  • Substantial reduction in road accidents due to decongestion on road
  • Benefits the tourism industry due to the efficient movement of visitors between destinations at economic rates
  • Savings in fuel consumption
  • Clean mode of transport with reduction in Greenhouse gas emissions due to a shift from conventional transport to SilverLine
  • Introduction of RORO facilities leads to transport of vehicles such as trucks, lorries, etc. in an environment friendly manner
  • Last mile connectivity by providing cab feeder services, share auto services, eBus services, bicycle/bike rental schemes
  • E-charging facilities for individual electric vehicles
  • Connecting IT corridors – Technopark and Infopark
  • Direct and indirect employment opportunities during construction period and post project operation period

What are the concerns related to the project?

  • The burden of debt financing of the project could impact State finances substantially.
  • The displacement and generous rehabilitation of about 10,000 families from the 1,200 hectares of private land is a major concern.
  • Environmental concerns exist over the embankments elevating the track approximately for 300 km and availability of construction material aggregates.
  • Kerala’s steep drainage is oriented east to west and many speculate that the embankment may enhance the intensity of ambient flooding although the project provides leeways every 500 metres.
  • The SilverLine is, however, exclusively insufficient to answer the State’s traffic crisis.
  • The Government has not yet made the detailed project report public, a standard practice which brings transparency to large-scale public infrastructure projects.

What approach is needed?

  • Kerala needs an integrated sectoral appraisal and synthesis of its competing traffic corridor proposals viewed simultaneously as civic amenities and investment projects.
  • An integrative approach might address the concerns.
  • Kerala also needs to harmoniously develop its eco-friendly waterways which can decongest the clogged highways by another 15%.
  • A progressive and knowledgeable society like Kerala should engage in meaningful discussions rather than highly polarised debates.



  1. https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/the-silverline-project-is-anti-development/article38288549.ece
  2. https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/op-ed/a-train-to-unite-kerala/article38284064.ece
  3. https://keralarail.com/projects/thiruvananthapuram-kasaragod-semi-high-speed-rail-shsr-project/


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