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50% cost-sharing for Sabari line

Cabinet likely to give approval for the project in the coming weeks Bowing to pressure from Railways, Kerala has in principle agreed to share 50% cost of the 111-km Sabari railway line that aims to put Sabarimala on the rail map. Though the rail line does not figure on the priority list of Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd (KRDCL), the special purpose vehicle for executing viable rail projects with the State on cost-sharing basis, it will be taken up as an independent project. Local opposition Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has given his concurrence for the long-pending demand of Railways to expedite the project, which has been bogged down by opposition from local people in Kottayam and Idukki over the approved alignment, confusion over cost-sharing and land acquisition, among other things. The State will have to mobilise 50% of the funds from the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), official sources told The Hindu on Wednesday. Either Railways, which have kicked off the initial 7 km works from Angamaly to Kalady, or the KRDCL will be tasked with laying of the remaining stretch. The nod of the Finance Department and Cabinet approval are expected in the coming weeks for cost-sharing of the line, the sources said. The move assumes significance as the Transport Department had earlier cancelled a government order issued for cost-sharing of the rail line citing it as a sanctioned project. Though Railways provided Rs. 225 crore in the 2017-18 Union Budget for the Sabari line, not much headway could be achieved in completing the location survey in Kottayam and Idukki due to opposition from those fearing eviction. The estimate of the rail line sanctioned in 1997-98 had gone up from Rs. 550 crore to Rs. 1,234 crore in 2005 to Rs. 1,566 crore in 2011 and now stands at Rs. 2,815 crore as per revised estimates. Budget allocation Only Rs. 1 crore had been allocated in the 2019-2020 Union budget. The final location survey and peg marking to fix central line and lay boundary stones on the 40-km stretch at Anthinadu in Kaloor grama panchayat in Kottayam to Erumely is on, an official of the construction wing of Railways said.

Source : https://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/kerala-govt-agrees-to-share-50-cost-for-111-km-sabari-railway-line/article26263718.ece

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