Kerala: Semi high-speed railway plan gets Centre’s nod

The central government has in-principle given its nod for the proposed 532-km semi high-speed rail corridor between Kochuveli in the state capital and Kasaragod.

In a Facebook post, chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the central clearance would strengthen the state’s development initiatives.

He said the Kerala Rail Development Corporation —a joint initiative of the state government and Indian Railways— would implement the project. The project, Silverline, would allow trains to touch 200 kmph.

Vijayan said the environment-friendly project would generate 50,000 employment opportunities. Once completed, it would employ 11,000, he said.

While the proposed railroad between Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur would be a new alignment, it would run along the existing route from Thrissur to Kasaragod. Underground passages would be constructed every 500 metres.

Preliminary studies had revealed that the project would be feasible. Once cleared by the cabinet, it would be submitted to the Centre for its approval.

The government has been in talks with multiple agencies, including Japan International Cooperation Agency, for financing the approximately Rs.56,000-crore project.

The United States Trade and Development Agency, an independent body of the United States government, targeting priority developing projects in emerging economies, had also evinced interest.

To mobilize resources, the government was also looking at value-capture financing method, being promoted by the ministry of urban development.

Under VCF, the property owners near public infrastructure projects, who would benefit from the increased property value due to the project, would have to pay additional taxes to the government.

Ten smart stations en route Kasaragod from Kochuveli were also planned, and they would not be in the same location as of the existing stations or towns.

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