THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: PWD minister G. Sudhakran has said the state government will begin survey and land acquisition proceedings for Semi High-Speed Railway (SHSR) immediately after receiving the clearance of Railway Board.
The Rs 66,000-crore project is one of the dream ventures of the LDF Government.
The minister said that the travel time between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasargod will get reduced to an unbelievable 4 hours from the present 12 hours once the project is commissioned. Over 1,226 hectares are expected to be acquired for the proposed 532-km SHSR line, he informed Assembly during question hour.
Mr Sudhakaran said though the Centre had asked Kerala to go for High Speed Rail (HSR) line, the state government chose the SHSR line in view of high density of population and environmental issues. Total cost of the project is expected to reach Rs 66,405 crore by the completion which will take at least five years," he added.
The minister said the government had already sent the cabinet decisions and other project details to the Railway Board. The survey and other processes will be initiated soon after getting their clearance.
The Cabinet in August had given its clearance to the mega project to be implemented by the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL), a joint venture of the Kerala government and Ministry of Railways. The rail line would enable operation of semi-high speed trains with a maximum speed of 200 kmph that would pass through 11 of the 14 districts in the state and have 10 stations, including in the commercial hub of Kochi.
It is also expected to reduce both congestion and pollution on the roads, improve safety and reduce dependence on imported fuel. The PWD minister said the proposed SHSR line was envisaged as a completely green project.
"We are envisaging a greenfield line, parallel to the existing railway line between Kochuveli in Thiruvananthapuram and Kasargod," the minister added.