Thiruvananthapuram, Dec 17: The Union Government has given in-principle approval to Kerala’s ambitious Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod Semi High Speed Rail (SHSR) corridor project.
The order in this regard was issued by the Ministry of Railways today, which was conveyed to Kerala Chief Secretary Shri Tom Jose IAS.
Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd. (K-Rail), the implementing agency of the 540-Km double line project, had submitted its proposal to the Ministry of Railways for the construction of the third and fourth lines between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod.
The proposal of K-Rail was examined in detail by the Ministry of Railways before according approval for the pre-investment activities of the project.
A joint venture of Kerala Government and Ministry of Railways, SHSR, named Silver Line, is envisaged as the most affordable solution for the transportation problems of Kerala as it will sharply reduce travel time between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod from 12 hours to four hours.
This approval marks an important milestone in the implementation of this grand project that will help fast track the economy of Kerala, said Mr V Ajith Kumar, Managing Director, KRDCL.
The state cabinet has approved the project after a year-long feasibility study conducted by the KRDCL. Following this, the feasibility study and proposal were submitted to the Ministry of Railways for its consideration and approval, he said.
The state government is going ahead with its efforts to mobilise investment for the project. Kerala Chief Minister Shri Pinarayi Vijayan, during his recent visit to Japan, had held discussions in this regard.
The project is estimated to cost Rs 56,443 core, but this can go upto Rs 66,079 crore by the time of its completion.
During its implementation, the project will generate 50,000 jobs. It will provide employment for 11,000 on completion.
Seen as a game-changer in Kerala’s infrastructure and economic development, SHSR is to be implemented with minimum land acquisition. Trains on the track, which cuts through 11 districts, will run at a speed of 200 km per hour.
Besides being a boon to all categories of passengers, including professionals and business class, the corridor will serve as a major line of freight transport, which is now mostly hauled by heavy, traffic-clogging and air-polluting trucks along the highways across the state.
The project also has many environmental features such as the use of clean energy by tapping solar power in a big way, reuse of concrete and steel, low emission construction equipment and promoting urban forestry programme.