Kannur: Many a times, people in Kannur gave themselves false hopes about new projects to be launched by the Railways. The Thalassery-Mysore line, Kannur-Kottiyoor line and others were proposed. And over time, some of these proposals were dropped, some delayed, while some just remained on paper.
That the Railway does not encourage new routes where potential for freight and passenger movement is less saw some projects remaining as mere proposals. However, now some projects are seeing a revival and among them is the Kannur-Kottiyoor line which would serve freight movers as well as spiritual travellers.
A proposal steeped in history
When the Thalassery harbour was active, the Thalassery-Mysore rail line was proposed so as to make it easier for goods to be delivered from Mysore. Later, when the Ezhimala Naval Academy was being built, the need for a railway line was emphasised. Now that the Muttanoor airport is coming into existence, a new railway line is also being considered because passengers would find it hard to navigate the narrow roads in the district to reach the airport. However, the Railway is not enthused by these proposals because they do not seem to be profitable for it, at least. If all these proposals are presented together as a single project, perhaps the Railway could be encouraged to consider the proposal.
The spiritual angle
In most of the railway stations in north Malabar, the Railways has built Muthappa temples. Perhaps it is the spiritual inclination of officials in the Railways that allowed the Guruvayoor-Sabari line to come closer to reality. This antecedent of the Railways is to be exploited by wiseacres who believe that the Railways would fall for a project that has loads of spirituality packed in it. That is how the proposal to build a line to Kottiyoor, also called Dakshina Kasi was mooted. If that line materialises, then the lines to Muttanoor and Mysore would be established in no time, thinktanks believe.
The route also has potential for tourism because the mountain ranges offer views similar to Ooty or Darjeeling. The line would bring spiritual travellers as well as casual tourists. This would in turn lead to an increase in commercial travel and freight movements.
About 10 lakh people visit the Kottiyoor temple for the Vaisakha festival, which takes the daily footfall to around 50,000. Visitors depend on Kannur and Thalassery stations as transit points to reach the temple. If a Kottiyoor line becomes a reality, travellers would benefit a lot. If the line is extended to Mysore, freight movement would also be helped. New railway lines would do away with freight movement along treacherous roads, which often causes accidents.
Boon for Wayanad
For the people of Wayanad, the nearest railway station is Kozhikode. If the Kottiyoor line becomes a reality, a railway station would come close to home for the people in Wayanad. Construction of pending road projects would further enhance the benefits of the railway line for the people.
Two new projects, a sub centre of Sri Chitra Institute of Medical Sciences and Kalinga National University, are to be established close to Kottiyoor. If these projects become a reality, then demands for a Kottiyoor line would get a fillip. This would also attract air passengers from Karipur to Kannur.
A railway line at Kottiyoor would:
1) Help spiritual tourism at Kottiyoor.
2) Shorten travel to Kannur airport.
3) A line from Kottiyoor to Mysore would enhance freight movement, which could cut down costs of essential items.
4) Agricultural products in Wayanad can be easily transported to other parts of the state.
5) The project has the potential to develop the area into a hill station.
Would the Railways consider this as a viable project now? We wait.