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Government awaits Railway Board's nod for Semi High-Speed Rail project

Government awaits Railway Boards nod for Semi High-Speed Rail project

Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government would begin survey and land acquisition procedures for the ambitious Rs 66,000 crore Semi High-Speed Rail (SHSR) Line project soon after getting the nod from the Railway Board, state PWD Minister G Sudhakaran said here on Thursday.

The much-awaited project, connecting the northernmost district Kasaragod with the southern Thiruvananthapuram, is expected to cut down the journey time from the present 12 hours to just four hours, he said.

Over 1,226 hectares land was expected to be acquired for the proposed 532-km SHSR line, he informed the state Assembly during question hour.

Though the Centre had asked the state to opt HighSpeed Rail (HSR) line, the Kerala government chose the SHSR line considering the high population density and environmental factors, the minister said.

'The project cost is estimated between Rs56,000-66,000 crore. Total cost is expected to reach Rs 66,405crore by the completion of the project which will take atleast five years,' Sudhakaran said.

'We have already sent the cabinet decisions and otherproject details to the Railway Board. We are awaiting their permission and will begin the survey and other necessary proceedings after getting their nod,' he said.

The state cabinet, in August, had given its clearance to the mega project, to be implemented by the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL), a joint venture of the Kerala government and Ministry of Railways.

The rail line would enable operation of semi-high-speed trains with a maximum speed of 200 kmph that would pass through 11 of the 14 districts in the state and have 10stations, including in the commercial hub of Kochi.

It is also expected to reduce both congestion andpollution on the roads, improve safety and reduce dependence on imported fuel.

The PWD minister said the proposed SHSR line was envisaged as a completely green project.

'We are envisaging a Greenfield line, parallel to the existing railway line between Kochuveli in Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod,' he added.

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