Kerala CM writes to PM Narendra Modi requesting sanction for Silver Line project

  • | Wednesday | 8th December, 2021

Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 8 (PTI) The Silver Line semi-high speed rail from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod will not only benefit the state of Kerala, but also the nation, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said in his letter sent to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to sanction the project. In his letter dated December 6, 2021, the CM has said that the Kerala government has already agreed to meet the entire land acquisition cost of Rs 13,700 crore. The state government has also agreed in-principle to meet the liability arising from any default on external debt obligation undertaken by the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd (K-Rail) for the project, Vijayan has said. His letter states that the project was discussed in July with Union Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw who had expressed concern in sanctioning the same due to the present financial position of the Indian Railways. In this background, Vijayan has said that without the land acquisition cost, the project"s equity internal rate of return was 13.55 per cent and hence, it was viable as per the agreement between the Ministry of Railways and Government of Kerala. "I request your kind personal intervention to kindly accord the sanction for this key project, which will be a milestone in the progress of Kerala," he said in the letter. "The project will not only benefit the state of Kerala, but also the nation, contributing both to the economy and the environment," it has said. The letter has been sent in the wake of strong criticism by the Congress-led opposition to the ambitious project of the Left government. Besides that, a plea has been moved in the Kerala High Court alleging that the state was carrying out land acquisition proceedings for the Silver Line project without sanction of the Centre or other appropriate authorities. The high court has issued notice to the state government and K-Rail, seeking their stand on the petition, which seeks contempt action against them for violating the assurance given to the court in January that they will proceed with the project only after getting the concurrence from the Centre, Railway Board and other statutory authorities. The Silver Line project, which is expected to reduce travel time from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod to around four hours, is being opposed by the Congress-led UDF opposition, which has been alleging that it was "unscientific and impractical" and will put a huge financial burden on the state. The 532-kilometre stretch from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod would be developed by K-Rail -- a joint venture of the Kerala government and the Railway Ministry for developing railway infrastructure in the southern state. Starting from the state capital, Silver Line trains will have stoppages at Kollam, Chengannur, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Tirur, Kozhikode and Kannur before reaching Kasaragod. PTI HMP SS SS

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