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Business Community Extends support to Semi High-Speed Rail Project

In Kerala
September 05, 2019

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM:
Traders community in the state capital has pledged total support to the proposed Semi High-Speed Rail (SHSR) project, launched by the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL), saying it will prove to be a game-changer for the entire state, fast-tracking growth in diverse sectors.

At a presentation held here, representatives of Trivandrum Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI) and Trivandrum Agenda Task Force (TATF) lauded KRDCL for taking up the mega infrastructure project connecting Kasaragod and the capital city in four hours. KRDCL is a joint venture of Government of Kerala and Ministry of Railways.

Speaking on the occasion, Tom Jose, Chief Secretary, Government of Kerala, and Chairman KRDCL, said since connectivity has become an important issue the project is a real necessity for Kerala. Tom Jose, who was chief guest at the event, informed that the SHSR project will be tentatively called ‘Silver Line’.

“How transportation is going to shape up in future is a matter of debate. The development of National Highways (NH) is very much slow in Kerala. The four-lane NH was designed in 2008, and even after 11 years, not an inch has been added to it. Albeit, we were able to complete the stretch between Angamali and Thrissur during this period our NH is not capable of bearing the influx of vehicles that increases every year,” Jose said.

Noting that a High-Speed Rail project is expensive, he said Kerala will get a special railway corridor along its 532-km length by 2024, and the SHSR will have a speed of 200km/hour.

“KRDCL will be completing the preparation of DPR (Detailed Project Report) by around November. For meeting the expenses of the Rs 66,079-crore project, Rs 34,454 crore will come as soft loans from multilateral lending agencies. The Centre and state will need to provide Rs 7,720 crore each. The Kerala government will spend Rs 8,656 crore on land acquisition and allied matters. The rest of the expenses will be met through other loans by the union and state governments,” he added.

In his presentation on “Semi High-Speed Rail Corridor,” V. Ajith Kumar, Managing Director, KRDCL, said land requirement is minimal for the project and it will be about half of that of four-lane highways.

“Good compensation will be given to the owners while acquiring their land. There will be service roads along with railways, so land value will increase. People will have better access to their properties through service roads along the project,” he noted.

Elaborating on the opportunities, Kumar said, “During the construction period of five years, around 50,000 local people per year will get employment. During commissioning for operation, maintenance and associated activities approximately 11,000 people will get direct and indirect jobs.”

The SHSR will accelerate the tourism activities, apart from providing fast accessibility to urban centres, and it would lead to economical and industrial growth, he added.

“A total 42.09 hectares of land has been identified for Thiruvananthapuram. Land also has been identified in Kollam (258 ha), Kottayam (256 ha), Ernakulam (239 ha), and Thrissur (57. 43 ha). The SHSR station in Thiruvananthapuram will be adjacent to the existing Kochuveli Railway Station,” Kumar said.

SHSR fare has been tentatively set at Rs 2.75/km with yearly escalation of 7.5 percent and average trip length is considered as 200km. Daily ridership in SHSR in 2024 is estimated at 67,740 while in 2028, it will be 82,266. In 2040, it will be 116,681 and in 2051, it is estimated at 147,120.

T. Balakrishnan, Special Officer, Capital City Development Project II made a presentation on “Growth Corridor for Trivandrum”; and Kamala Vardhana Rao, Principal Secretary, PWD made a presentation on “National Highway development in Kerala.”

S.N. Raghuchandran Nair, President, TCCI, welcomed the gathering. N. Mahesh, Architect and Planner, was the moderator. Abraham Thomas, Secretary, TCCI, proposed a vote of thanks.