The State Cabinet gave its green signal for a feasibility study on suburban train services between Thiruvananthapuram and Chengannur as well as Thiruvananthapuram and Harippad

The State Cabinet gave its green signal for a feasibility study on suburban train services between Thiruvananthapuram and Chengannur as well as Thiruvananthapuram and Harippad on Wednesday.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy told the media after the Cabinet meeting that the project was proposed to be taken up as a joint venture between the Indian Railways and the State Government.

A special purpose vehicle (company) would be formed with participation of the government and the Railways for implementation.

The feasibility study would be entrusted to the Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation, a joint venture of the Railways and the Maharashtra government operating suburban services in Mumbai.

The Chief Minister said that platforms and other facilities would have to be upgraded and automatic signalling system introduced to facilitate running of Mainline Electrical Multiple Units (MEMU) continuously during peak hours.

The MEMUs would stop at 25 stations along the route.

Mr. Chandy said that double lines of the existing railway network would be sufficient for the services. Services would be scheduled in such a way as not to affect the passenger and express train services along the routes. However, the timing of goods trains would have to be altered.

He said that as per rough calculations, the cost of the project would be about Rs.20 crore a km.

This was lower than that for other projects such as the proposed north-south high speed railway corridor. The Cabinet had taken the decision based on preliminary report submitted by Biju Prabhakar who had visited Mumbai to study the suburban system there and hold discussions with Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation.

The Chief Minister said that he had met Railway Minister Mallikarjun Kharge along with K. Sudhakaran and M.I. Shanavas, MPS, in Delhi and submitted a memorandum listing the State’s demands for railway development, including formation of a railway zone in the State.

The Railways were complaining of delays in land acquisition in the State and difficulties in getting earth for filling and quarrying.

Road repair

Mr. Chandy said the roads damaged in heavy rain across the State would be repaired in a month. The Cabinet had given administrative sanction for works totalling Rs.431 crore. It had also decided to release Rs.200 crore additionally. Minister for Public Works V.K. Ebrahim Kunju was visiting the districts to review restoration works. He had already visited seven districts and would be visiting the rest of the district by the end of this month.

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