Thiruvananthapuram: Former chief minister Oommen Chandy has said that the Kerala government's claim that it will soon get the approval for semi high-speed rail (SilverLine) project is astonishing.
The LDF chose to go for a dead-end project like Silver Line replacing the previous UDF government's suburban rail project which was cost-effective and feasible. The UDF government had taken the project considerably ahead when the incumbent government decided to dump it.
The 529 Semi High-Speed Rail (SilverLine) Project (SHSR) is a 529.45 km corridor connecting Kasaragod and Thiruvananthapuram. The ambitious proposed to reduce travel time from 10-12 hours to less than 4 hours.
Chandy said the total cost of suburban rail project was Rs 6000 crore while the Silver Line project is going to cost a whopping 63,491 crores. "From where will the people who run the state by cutting the salary of government employees, mobilize such a humongous amount?" he asked.
The former chief minister said the existing SilverLine project has been presented by making certain changes in the features of the previous high-speed rail. He accused the government of spending Rs 30 crore just for preparing the Detailed Project Report (DPR). It also created an agency Kerala Rail Development Corporation and packed the organization with party functionaries.
The veteran Congress leader said in place of the SilverLine project, it would be proper to return to a cost-effective project like suburban rail which does not involve land acquisition.