Centre mulling alternative to SilverLine in Kerala

Representational image.

New Delhi: The Central Government is planning to come up with a new high speed rail project in Kerala as an alternative to the proposed K-Rail programme mooted by the LDF government.

One of the recommendations is to run the trains at a speed of 130 km per hour through the state.

Though the matter was mentioned by Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw earlier, the minister gave a clear message along these line at a meeting with a delegation of Kerala BJP leaders here on Wednesday.

A discussion on the new plan will be held with the MPs from the State soon.

The Railway Ministry is exploring three options:

  1. Constructing a third railway track from Mangalore to Thiruvananthapuram.
  2. Constructing a third line from Thiruvananthapuram to Shoranur and straightening railway track from Shoranur to Mangalore.
  3. Increasing the speed of trains by revising the existing signal systems.

The Union Minister told the delegation that Kerala's rail development would not be affected due to the stalemate created by the SilverLine project.

The Railways had earlier said that the Detailed Project Report (DPR) given by K-Rail was incomplete.

Though the state government had provided an explanation to the doubts raised by the Centre on K-Rail, the Minister had told the Parliament that a final decision on the project would only be taken after studying the project's financial feasibility.

It is under this circumstance that the Centre is now looking at alternative options.

The BJP delegation led by Union Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan urged the Railway Minister to grant a high speed train project for Kerala.

The BJP team also wanted a discussion with MPs regarding the feasibility study conducted by the Railway research team on the issue.

Muraleedharan later told the media that the Railway minister assured them that the government would consider holding such a meeting with MPs during this Parliament session itself.

He also said that the Railway minister assured them that the proposed coach terminal at Nemom in Thiruvananthapuram would not be dropped.

Apart from Muraleedharan, BJP state president K Surendran, Railway Passengers Amenities Samithi chairman P K Krishnadas, BJP state leaders V V Rajesh and P Sudheer were part of the delegation that met the Union Railway Minister.

Krishnadas later told the media that K-Rail was a closed chapter and instead, a golden line for running high speed trains would come up in Kerala.

CM owes explanation to people: Satheesan

Opposition Leader V D Satheesan said that though the Chief Minister backtracked from his previous position on K-Rail, he still owed an explanation to the people on why the state gvernment tried to acquire land for SilverLine without completing the DPR and acquiring clearance for the project from the Centre and the Railway Ministry.

He said that it was now proven beyond doubt that the state government's sole aim was to indulge in large scale corruption by acquiring land first and then taking huge foreign loans.

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