The financial position of the State government is not conducive for bearing 50 per cent of the cost of the Sabari railway project, Transport Minister Aryadan Mohammed has said.

Responding to a calling attention motion by Saju Paul (CPI-M) on the problems in implementing the project in the Assembly on Monday, Mr. Mohammed said the cost of the project, which began in 1997-98, was estimated at Rs.517 crore, but owing to the delay in land acquisition, it had shot up to Rs.1,556 crore.

Railways had placed the onus for the delay in acquiring the land on the State government, and said that it would be treated as a new project and hence the State should contribute Rs.780 crore.

The State government was insisting that it was the old project. The financial position also was not conducive for sharing the cost.

Disputes on alignment and land acquisition had mostly been settled, he said.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy would call a meeting to give finishing touches to the project soon, but funds crunch was a major issue, he said.

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