Semi-high-speed railway track: Land acquisition to start soon
Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala government will soon initiate steps to acquire land for the semi-high-speed rail line.
The move comes after the Railway ministry gave in principal approval for the project. A decision in this regard was taken at a meeting presided over by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday.
The project requires a total of 1226 hectares of land. The railway ministry has agreed to use the additional land under its ownership near the new track, which lays parallel to the old track, for the project.
Around 200 hectares of land will be available through this. The remaining land needs to be acquired. Land acquisition cells to expedite the process will be set up soon.
The railway track will be 523 kilometres long. Aerial and traffic survey for the project has been completed. A final alignment report will be available by March 2020. The aim is to start construction in 2020 and complete the project in 2024.
The railway ministry has agreed that trains running on the semi-high-speed track will clock speeds of 200 kilometres per hour. This would mean that train from Thiruvananthapuram will reach Kochi in one-and-a-half hours. Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod will only take four hours.
The Rs 66,000 crore project is undertaken by a company in which both the Kerala state government and Indian railways own equal share. The project will be implemented after availing loans from international financial agencies. Loan discussions with German Bank (Deutsche Bank), Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are progressing.
PWD minister G. Sudhakaran, Chief Secretary Tom Jose, Principal Secretary for Transport K. R. Jyothilal, Kerala Rail Development Corporation MD V. Ajith Kumar were among those present in the meeting.