Thiruvananthapuram: The state would have to face several challenges if the suburban railway service has to become a reality. The project was included in the budget only after the state informed that it was ready to bear half the expense for the formation of a special purpose vehicle (SPV) for the project.
As per the estimate, the total cost of the project would come to around Rs. 3,800 crore for the stretch from Thiruvananthapuram to Haripad and Chengannur covering 85 km. As the state will have 51 percent of the shares in the SPV, it would have to roll out Rs 1,900 crore for the project to materialise.
As a new railway line is not practical in the state for the suburban service like in Chennai and Mumbai cites, Memu trains will have to be used to run after arranging automatic signalling facility in the existing double line, as per the feasibility report prepared by the Mumbai Rail Vikas Corporation.
Thiruvananthapuram Railway Divisional Manager Sunil Bajpai said that the division officials would have to prepare a plan on how the project would be implemented in the next four months.
As the suburban railway would have to be operated in the existing lines, the government would have to lay high speed rolling stocks in the stretch. This would increase the cost of the project. As it is not on a subsidised mode, the cost would have to be transferred to the commuters leading to higher ticket rate, Mr Bajpai said.
Railway sources said this had been recommended in view of the huge throw-forward of ongoing projects and limited availability of resources and hence the state would have to share the cost of the suburban project....