The proposal to entrust the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation with the preparation of the Detailed Project Report for setting up a suburban corridor and commencing suburban train services on Thiruvananthapuram-Chengannur-Harippad section will come up before the Cabinet on Friday.

A steering committee headed by the Chief Secretary with representatives from Railways and the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation will also be set up to oversee the ambitious project and take it forward, official sources said.

The State government has decided to take up the project mooted by Divisional Railway Manager Rajesh Agrawal for hassle-free travel of short-distance commuters.

The decisions comes in the wake of a meeting convened by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy with the Rakesh Misra, General Manager, Southern Railway, and Rakesh Saxena, Chairman and Managing Director, Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation, at the Secretariat here on Thursday.

It has also been decided to set up a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) to implement the project that Railways want as a joint venture between the State and Railways.

The SPV will take care of the automatic signalling system, modernisation of the stations, purchase of the rolling stock, upgrade of the level-crossings, and foot and road overbridges.

The project is estimated to cost Rs.3,000 crore as per the current cost of Rs.20 crore for a km.

The State will also look into the possibility of getting a World Bank loan for the project. Mr. Chandy said the corporation had been asked to submit the report by December end.

Minister for Transport and Railways Aryadan Mohammed, Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Shashi Tharoor; Chief Secretary E.K. Bharat Bhushan; Special Officer Biju Prabhakar; Mr. Agrawal; Chief Signal and Telecommunication Engineer S. Manohar; and Chief Safety Officer S. Anantha Raman attended.