Kerala Kaumudi Online
Tuesday, 16 April 2024 7.47 PM IST

50% cost of Sabari rail line project: Decision still pending; file handed over to Transport Department


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The decision on the state bearing half the cost of the Angamaly-Erumeli Sabari rail line project is still pending. Last December, the Railways had said that Kerala should bear 1900.47 crores, which is half of the 3800.93 crores required as construction cost. The Finance Department sent the file to the Chief Minister without taking a decision. The chief minister's office sent the file to the chief secretary. From there the file was handed over to the transport department on Monday. The finance department is slacking because the project will not be getting funds from KIIFB. The decision is pending because once the assurance is given, it cannot be withdrawn.

It was when the estimate was revised to 3800.93 crores that the Railways sought written assurance for half the cost. The new estimate will be approved by the Railway Board only after the state issues an order agreeing to this and signs a memorandum of understanding. Otherwise, 100 crore allocated for the project in the central budget will go to waste. Only after receiving the government's letter can the Railways cancel the 2019 order freezing the project and start processes including land acquisition. If earlier it was sufficient to pay the state share in stages, now it has to be paid in one go. A guarantee of the Reserve Bank should also be given to ensure receipt of money. Otherwise, the central allocation to the state will be reduced.

What is needed is a letter and an agreement

  1. Cabinet meeting should decide to bear half of the project cost. A letter should be given to the Railways informing about this.
  2. An agreement should be signed with the railways that the money will be paid. Reserve Bank guarantee should also be given for this.
  3. Railways demand to share 50% of the cost in projects which are judged to be economically unviable.
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