The Kerala government on Wednesday said it has approved an ambitious ₹66,000 cr semi-high speed rail project, called ‘Silver Line’, seen as a game-changer project to recast infrastructure and economic development. The long-pending project could cut down travel time from its northern tip, Kasargod district, to the southernmost district Thiruvananthapuram, to just 4 hours from 12 hours using the existing Indian Railway trains.
The project is the biggest one the communist government has announced in its term, nearing end next year, and is brought to life a decade long discussions about it in the state. In the backdrop of financial fallout for states after covid-19 pandemic, the development also assumes significance that it signals Kerala is going for expansionary spending, in sharp contrast with several other state governments and the central government have tightened their purse on spending.
Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said through a Facebook post that the cabinet has approved a detailed project report and alignment for the project. The state will approach financial institutions and nationalised banks to raise funds for the project’s land procurement, he said. Loans will be also made through Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA), German state-owned bank KfW Group, Asian Development Bank (ADB), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), he said.
“The path will be built in a 531 km distance between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasargod. Thr trains could train would run as faster as 180-200 kilometers per hour. One could reach Ernakulam in one and half hours (which takes five hours now) and Kasargod in four hours (which takes 12 hours now) from Thiruvananthapuram. There will be nine bogies, which can carry 645 passengers at a time. There will be two kind of classes, business and standard. We expect the project to finish by 2025. Including Kochi airport, there will be 11 stations,” said Vijayan.
Kerala Rail Development Corporation (KRDCL), the implementing agency for double-line project, had recently obtained permission for the proposal to the Ministry of Railways for building third and fourth lines between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod. According to the proposal, it will be a joint venture of the Kerala government and the Ministry of Railways. During implementation, the project is expected to create 50,000 jobs and employment for 11,000 on completion. The trains will be passing through 11 of the total 14 districts.
News Source: Livemint