Sabari rail project lacks State support: Centre

Local protests against land acquisition, litigation and inadequate response from the State Government have hampered the progress of the 116-km-long Sabari rail project, Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw informed the Lok Sabha on Wednesday.

Replying to a question raised by Adoor Prakash in the House, he said the work on the Angamali-Kalady and Kalady-Perumbavoor stretches could not be taken forward due to these reasons. This, he said, had delayed the project and thus increased the cost estimate from ₹550 crore in 1997 when the project was sanctioned to ₹1,566 crore in 2011 and further to ₹2,815 crore in 2017.

The Minister said Kerala had agreed to share the cost of the project with the Railways in 2015, only to back out a year later. “After long persuasion, the State Government, in January 2021, conveyed its decision to share 50% of the project cost through the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), subject to the condition that the operation and maintenance of the track be done by the Railways while the stations along the route will be developed by a Special Purpose Vehicle in the PPP mode and the net revenue realised by the SPV would be shared equally between the State Government and Ministry of Railways.”

Mr. Vaishnaw said Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited had updated the estimate for 70 km only and the LiDAR survey for the remaining stretch was yet to be done. Pointing out that the Railway could not take up the final location survey due to stiff public resistance and the lack of support from the State Government to resolve law and order issues, the Minister said a final decision on the project would be taken only after receiving the revised estimate of the complete project and not in parts.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 8:13:49 AM |

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