THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Monday, October 4, 2021, informed the assembly that the vetting of the project report of K-Rail by various central agencies has been progressing and the final approval for the project can be expected anytime from now. The detailed project report of the Rs 63,941-crore SilverLine semi high-speed railway line by Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (K-Rail) has been submitted to the Union railway ministry, finance department and central cabinet to get the final approval.
Already, NITI Aayog, the Centre government’s apex think-tank, and department of expenditure have given permission for the project. Accordingly, the state government submitted a proposal seeking a foreign loan of Rs 33,700 crore to the screening committee of the Union finance ministry. It will forward the loan proposal to foreign money-lending institutions like Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), ADB, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) and German development bank KfW, said the chief minister in reply to a question.
However, the delay in getting the final clearance will result in cost escalation of the project, according to sources. NITI Aayog had earlier said the project cost will come around Rs 1,26,000 crore, not Rs 63,940 crore as estimated by KRDCL.
Speaking to TNIE, KRDCL managing director Ajith Kumar V said, “It is true that the project has been pending with the railway ministry for final approval for over one year. A one-year delay is normal as compared to other infra projects. Even the Kochi Metro rail extension project proposal has taken around three years to get final clearance,” he said.
The KRDCL has been going ahead with environmental impact assessment, environment management plan, social impact study, rehabilitation and resettlement study and indigenous people plan. “There is no need for EIA for railway projects, but it is required for availing foreign funding. And KSRDCL is 100% hopeful of the project,” said Ajith Kumar. The state government recently declared KRDCL as the special purpose vehicle for availing a loan Rs 2,100 crore from KIIFB for meeting the cost of land acquisition for the project.