Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has written to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking for his sanction for the Silver Line bullet train project. In the letter dated December 6, 2021, Kerala CM stated that the Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod rail project will benefit not only the state of Kerala but the nation as well.
Vijayan wrote that the government of Kerala has already agreed to cover the full cost of acquiring land from ??13,700 crores.
The state government has also granted its approval in principle to meet any liability arising from the failure to pay the external debt contracted by Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd (K-Rail) for the project, Vijayan added.
The CM of Kerala said the Silver Line railway project was discussed in July with Union Minister of Railways Ashwini Vaishnaw, who expressed concern in sanctioning it given the current financial situation. Indian Railways.
In this context, Vijayan noted that without the cost of acquiring the land, the internal rate of return on equity of the high-speed train project was 13.55% and, therefore, it was viable in accordance with the agreement between the Ministry of Railways and the Government of Kerala.
“I ask for your kind personal intervention to kindly grant sanction for this key project, which will be a milestone in Kerala’s progress,” Vijayan wrote in the letter.
“The project will benefit not only the state of Kerala but also the nation, contributing both to the economy and the environment,” he said.
The letter comes amid strong criticism from the Congress-led opposition against the leftist government’s ambitious plan in Kerala.
In addition, a plea was filed in the High Court of Kerala alleging that the state was conducting land acquisition proceedings for the Silver Line project without permission from the Center or other relevant authorities.
The High Court has issued a notice to the state government and K-Rail, asking for their position on the petition, which seeks contempt action against them for violating an assurance given to the court in January that they would only continue with the project after obtaining the agreement. the Center, the Railway Commission and other statutory authorities.
The Silver Line project, which is expected to cut the journey time from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod to around four hours, faces opposition from the Congress-led UDF, who alleged it was “unscientific and impractical.” and would put a huge financial burden on the state.
The 532 kilometer stretch from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod would be developed by K-Rail – a joint venture of the Government of Kerala and the Ministry of Railways for the development of railway infrastructure in the southern state.
Departing from the state capital, Silver Line trains will have stops at Kollam, Chengannur, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Tirur, Kozhikode and Kannur before reaching Kasaragod.
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