Work on the proposed Twin Tunnel Anakkampoyil-Kalladi- Meppadi project will begin this year with Kerala government expecting an approval from Union Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change once the state government completes the environmental impact study by July 2023 and submit the report before the Ministry.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan recently told the state assembly that the procedures for beginning the work on the project have been initiated and the application for acquiring 17.53 hectares of forest land for the project has been under active consideration of the state forest department.
“The revenue department has issued a notification for acquiring private land required for the project in Kozhikode district. A cost evaluation has also been completed for acquiring the required land. Now the department will issue a notification for acquiring the required private land at Meppadi in Wayanad,” Pinarayi Vijayan said. “Once the scrutiny of the forest clearance application is completed, it will be submitted before the Regional Office of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change in Bengaluru for approval,” the Chief Minister said.
New Austrian Tunneling Method
As per the Detailed Project Report (DPR) prepared for the project, New Austrian Tunneling Method (NATM) is the most suitable technology for constructing the tunnel for the project. Pinarayi Vijayan said the government was actively considering Norwegian technological support for the tunnel construction.
Why the tunnel project
The Kerala government approved the tunnel project after a project for a surface road along the same route failed to take off because of the need for levelling large tracts of forest land. Though in 2015, the government again considered a road through the forest between Maripuzha and Kalladi, construction of a road through the tough terrain was found to be a herculean task. Finally, the government decided to cut a tunnel with entry and exit points in private lands close to the forest.
Benefits of tunnel project
The distance from Kozhikode to Wayanad will be reduced to 54 Km from the existing 85 Km.
It will help promote tourism and industry. It will ease transportation and reduce traffic jams along Thamarassery pass which has nine hairpin bends over a length of 12 km.
It will significantly reduce running time of vehicles from Kozhikode to Mysuru and Bengaluru.
It will offer a wider alternate route to Thamarassery Ghat road, which is congested during peak hours.