Kochi: Railways will implement Sabari Rail Project in the State to connect south India's major pilgrim centre of Sabarimala through rail route, Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu Sunday said.
"That project is not dropped. That project is still there. We will definitely implement it. But the priority is doubling," the Minister told reporters here when asked about the delay in implementing the project.
Officials said the Railways was currently focussing on completion of 57 km of doubling of tracks, Piravom Road to Kuruppanthara, Chingavanam to Chengannur and Harippad to Ambalappuzha, this financial year.
"Since the resource is being limited, we have to put the resources where we get a maximum benefit within a shortest possible time. If you do doubling, it will give you quick benefits...," the Minister said.
The Kerala government has opposed the Railways' stand that the state should bear 50 per cent of the total cost for the Sabari rail project.
The state government has said it was not possible for Kerala to bear more than Rs 780 crore cost due to the financial crunch being faced by it.
State Transport Minister Aryadan Muhammed, speaking at the flagging-off ceremony of the diesel electric multiple unit train service, said Sabari project should be implemented.
Talking to reporters, Prabhu suggested a "different approach" and "long-term vision" to facilitate maximum train services in Kerala which is densily populated.
He favoured quadrupling busy lines like Thiruvananthapuram-Kayamkulam and Ernakulam-Shoranur at an estimated cost of Rs 3,000 crore but said the question was how the money could be found out.
"How we can find out that money? We have to find out together. I am sure money could be found out," Prabhu said, adding, such a project would solve the "huge bottleneck of traffic that we are suffering from" and Railways is the best environment friendly mode of transport in the country.