New Delhi: Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan on Wednesday slammed the Kerala government over the Silverline railway project saying that the Kerala government wants to take "commission" for the project.
Speaking to ANI after attending the Parliament session in Rajya Sabha, Muraleedharan said, "In the last seven years of PM Modi government, Kerala saw unprecedented development in infrastructure projects compared to Congress government days. What prompted Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to come out against the Centre is a decision that won't allow them to take bribes in name of development projects."
"Kerala government has come out with Silverline railway project that will cover the entire state and cost Rs 75,000 crore initially. It has the largest debt and is reeling under flood. In this situation, the Kerala government is coming out with a railway line that will cross Rs 1.1 Lakh crore when completed," Muraleedharan said.
The Union Minister of State further said, "The Government of India has said that we will not be guarantors to the loan that they want to take from abroad. This Silverline project will divide the state and they want to create a separate high-speed railway line."
"I understand from Railway Ministry that as of now we have a technology to run trains at speed of 180 km/hr. With some technological up-gradation, we can utilise the same lines and have trains running even up to 250km/hr. The entire length of Kerala can be covered in 3 hours," V Muraleedharan said.
The Minister of State further said, "When it can be done, why do they want to spend over Rs 1 lakh crore? The objective is clear. Kerala government wants to take commission and Central government is not allowing corruption. That's the reason why Kerala CM suddenly came out, saying that Centre isn't supporting infrastructure project."
In December 2019, the Centre had given in-principle approval to the SilverLine, a semi-high speed railway project from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod.
Once commissioned, the semi-high speed rail corridor will reduce the travel time from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod from 12 hours to 4 hours. The project is being implemented by Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL), formed by the Indian Railways and the state government. The double line project can cover up to 200 km/hr. The preliminary feasibility study had found the project viable. The proposal was sent to the Union Railway Ministry after the state cabinet approved it.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said the government is coming up with a plan for investment mobilization. "It is envisioned as an eco-friendly project. The 532 km railway line from Kochuveli to Kasaragod will be constructed. The rail corridor will provide half a million jobs. Up to 11,000 people will get jobs when the project is completed," he had said in a statement.
The project is estimated to cost Rs 66,079 crore and at the time of the approval, the Cabinet had evaluated that it will require minimal land acquisition.