Kerala Kaumudi Online
Tuesday, 25 June 2024 1.16 AM IST

Sabari rail project: High-level meeting on Friday to address 'new financial strategy'


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The state government has convened a meeting of top officials to discuss raising funds to cover half the construction cost of the Angamaly-Erumeli Sabari railway. The meeting to be chaired by the Chief Secretary will have various departmental secretaries and officials in attendance.

The total construction cost required is Rs 3800.93 crore. Last December, the Railways demanded Kerala to bear half of the construction cost, which is Rs 1900.47 crores. 'Kerala Kaumudi' had also reported about the state government wasting Rs 100 crore allocated from the central budget for the project, due to delaying a response out of ambiguity.

Railways asked for written assurance for half the cost when the estimate was revised to 3800.93 crores. Agreeing to this, the state should issue an order and sign a memorandum of understanding. Only after that, the new estimate will be approved by the Railway Board. However, the state took more than the usual time to inform the railways about their assent to bear half of the cost required for the project.

If the share is not paid correctly after signing the agreement, the central share for Kerala will be reduced. Railways is also asking for a Reserve Bank guarantee. The central government will proceed with land acquisition only if the government sends a letter to Delhi agreeing to all terms proposed. The state will now have to pay all the construction costs in one go, unlike the earlier times of making payments in stages. The stern move from railways is a retort to the state government’s earlier move to back out from the project in 2018 after agreeing to bear half of the cost in 2015.

The finance department has confirmed about not getting any help from KIIFB. The meeting on Friday will discuss new ways to acquire money to meet the required amount proposed by the railways.

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