Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the union government was focussed on improving connectivity in Kerala. He was addressing a gathering after inaugurating various projects -- including the laying of the foundation stone for phase II of Kochi Metro -- in the state here on Thursday.
However, Modi's speech did not specifically name the 'SilverLine' project that has been proposed by the government of Kerala despite statewide protests over land acquisition. Instead, the PM emphasised the ongoing work on national highways, doubling of railway lines, and redevelopment of three major railway stations in the state.
"The Centre is focussing greatly on improving connectivity in Kerala. Our government is spending Rs 55,000 crore on developing the NH66, which is the lifeline of Kerala, into a six-lane," said PM Modi.
Besides laying the foundation stone for Phase II of Kochi Metro, the PM also flagged off the Pettah-SN Junction line, launched the electrification project for the Kollam-Punalur Railway line at a cost of Rs 76 crore, inaugurated the redevelopment project for three railway stations -- Ernakulam Junction, Ernakulam Town and Kollam Junction -- for Rs 1,059 crore and opened the doubled 27km-stretch between Kuruppanthara and Chingavanam.
"Kerala's rail connectivity has reached a milestone today," said PM Modi. "In June 2017, I inaugurated the Kochi Metro line from Aluva to Palarivattom. Today phase-I extension has been inaugurated and the foundation stone has been laid for the second phase from JLN Stadium to Info Park.
"With the completion of doubling of railway lines at Ettumannur, Kottayam and Chingavanam, Sabarimala pilgrims around the world are happy," he said.
Modi claimed that his government was developing railway stations like airports. "Three railway stations in Kerala are being redeveloped into international standards.
"Besides, works on infrastructure development for over Rs 1 lakh crore is happening in Kerala. This modern infrastructure will create more employment in Kerala," he added.
Care and concern highlight of Kerala
PM Modi who had recently met Mata Amritanandamayi in Haryana hailed Kerala as a state where "care and concern is part of the social life". "As Kerala celebrates Onam, the state is getting projects worth Rs 4,600 crore related to connectivity." He said these projects will help to promote ease of living and ease-of-doing-business in Kerala.