Kerala: Semi-high-speed rail line to be ready in 3 yrs, full fare Rs 1,450

The project could cut Thiruvananthapuram-Kasargod travel time from 12 hrs to four hrs

Kerala semi-high-speed rail Representational image | Via onmanorama

Kerala: Semi-high-speed rail line to be ready in 3 years, full fare Rs 1,450

While presenting the Kerala budget for 2020-21 on Friday, State Finance Minister Thomas Isaac announced that the semi-high-speed rail project, connecting Kasargod and Thiruvananthapuram, will be completed in three years. He said the land acquisition will begin this year. “The fare from Kasargod to Thiruvananthapuram will be Rs1,450,” he said.

What we know about the project?

The 540-km project envisages reduction of travel time from the northern to southern extremes of Kerala from 12 to four hours. A joint venture of the Kerala government and Railways, the project could go a long way to address transport problems in the state.

The state cabinet had approved the project after a year-long feasibility study, conducted by the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd.

Is the project feasible?

Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) principal advisor E. Sreedharan, who is popularly known as the Metro Man, had expressed doubts over the economic feasibility of the project.

Apart from the expenses, Sreedharan has flagged the massive rehabilitation that would have to be undertaken for the project.

The criticism has not changed the Kerala government stand. It is going ahead with its efforts to mobilise investment for the project. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, during his recent visit to Japan, reportedly held discussions with a few companies.

How much will the project will cost?

The project is estimated to cost Rs 56,443 crore, but this can go up to Rs 66,079 crore by the time of its completion. During its implementation, the project would generate 50,000 jobs. It would provide employment for 11,000 on completion.

Trains on the track, which cuts through 11 districts, would run at a speed of 200kmph.

(This article was originally published in onmanorama)