E Sreedharan
Sreedharan said Thomas had requested him to give a note about the alternative project he suggested. File photo

Metroman Sreedharan proposes alternative railway project to Kerala govt

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Metroman E Sreedharan on Friday said he has proposed a high-speed rail system as an alternative to the shelved K-Rail project of the Left government in Kerala and offered all cooperation beyond politics to develop the southern state.

Sreedharan, a national executive member of the BJP, said he had submitted a proposal to the state government after its representative in New Delhi, KV Thomas, held discussions with him regarding the project recently with the consent and knowledge of Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

The Metroman said he was yet to receive any communication from them on the proposed project to connect Kerala’s northern Kasaragod and southern Thiruvananthapuram through the high-speed rail network.

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‘Ready to offer assistance’

Addressing a press conference in Kochi, Sreedharan said Thomas had requested him to give a note about the alternative project he suggested.

The one-and-a-half-page note on the proposal was submitted to him the very next day, the Metroman said. “Thomas said he was coming for the discussion with the knowledge of the chief minister. I was happy to hear that…I thought the state government would be on board and things would become easy. I don’t know anything (any development) after that.”

Sreedharan clarified that neither the CM nor Thomas had contacted him after the meeting happened early this week. “If the state government seeks assistance, I am ready to provide it. I am ready to cooperate with any project that is beneficial for the state, beyond politics.” The project can be implemented only if the state government agrees with it, he said while hoping to receive a positive response.

‘K-Rail not feasible’

Reiterating his stand that the mammoth semi-high speed K-Rail (SilverLine) project, an ambitious initiative of the state government, was not feasible, he said an elevated or tunnel rail network is suitable for the southern state.

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He expressed confidence that his proposal can be implemented without much public resistance and involves less land acquisition. The project can be modelled on metro rail or Konkan railway network pattern, he said, adding that the Indian Railway or the DMRC should implement it.

He said whichever railway project is implemented in the state should be capable to operate a high speed train through its track. So, it should be made on standard gauge, he added.

The ambitious K-Rail semi-high-speed rail project of the Left government in Kerala, which was on the backburner for want of permissions from the Union government, was back in the news following a report tabled by Sreedharan to Chief Minister Vijayan on the rail system.

Cong, BJP oppose project

Thomas said on Tuesday that he had held discussions with Sreedharan on the feasibility of the SilverLine project, which aims to connect the north and south ends of the state, after getting a nod from the CM.

Sreedharan, who was the BJP candidate from Palakkad in the previous Assembly polls, was not in favour of the proposed project.

The SilverLine rail corridor, envisaged to cover a 530-kilometre stretch from Thiruvananthapuram in the south of Kerala to Kasaragod in the north, is estimated to cost around Rs 64,000 crore.

The Opposition Congress and the BJP in Kerala have been protesting against the SilverLine project, saying it will affect the families who will be displaced due to its implementation.

(With agency inputs)

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