Centre reluctant to give Rs 2,150 crore as share capital for SilverLine project

SilverLine project: Laying boundary stones without talks undemocratic, says Sastra Sahitya Parishad

Thiruvananthapuram: In a major worry to the Kerala government, the Union Railway Ministry seems to be dilly-dallying on giving the share capital for the proposed SilverLine semi high-speed rail project.

Though the Railways has given consent for handing over 185 hectares of its land for the project, it is mum on handing over to the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (K-Rail) the share capital amount, as stated in the Detailed Project Report.

K-Rail authorities have now approached the state government to take up the matter with the Centre. K-Rail had earlier demanded Rs 3,125 crore as share capital from the central government for the project.

K-Rail plans to raise 24 percent of the total project cost by issuing shares. The land value for 975 hectares of land of the Railways which is to be handed over to K-Rail is pegged at Rs 975 crore. K-Rail's demand is to get the remaining Rs 2,150 crore from the Railways as share capital after deducting Rs 975 crore from the total share amount of Rs 3,125 crore.

Of the total project cost, 4.8 percent will be the share of Railways. The Kerala Government's share would be 5.09 percent (Rs .3252.56 crore). The shares from the public will be 6.65 percent (Rs 4,252 crore). As many as 52.70 percent of the project cost will be raised through loans.

The Railways seems to have taken a position that it will give the share amount if the Central Government allots special funds for the purpose. Since the DPR has not yet received the Central Government's nod, there are less chances of the Railways keeping apart funds for the project during this year's Union Budget.

Ticket rates to go up in first year of commissioning
According to the DPR, the ticket rates will go up in the first year itself of the commissioning of the SilverLine project.

The DPR itself states that during the planned commissioning year of 2025-26, the cost for one kilometer travel will be Rs 3.90. This aspect is very relevant at a time when the Kerala government and the K-Rail authorities are claiming that the cost for travel will be Rs 2.75 per one km. But the truth is that Rs 2.75 per km would be the current rate and it will go up to Rs 3.90 per km by 2025-26.

The total distance of the Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod SilverLine is 520 km. If it is Rs 2.75 per km, the total fare for travelling from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod will be Rs 1,475.

But if everything goes as per the plan and the rail line is opened in 2025-26, the total expense for such a travel would be Rs 2,067 if Rs 3.90 is the charge for 1 km.

In 2050, the cost for 1 km would be Rs 15.79, taking the total expense to Rs 8,368 for a trip through the SilverLine from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod.

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