Kochi, India (Urban Transport News): Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd (K-Rail) is all set to float global tenders for Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod Semi High-Speed Rail (Silver Line) Corridor. "Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (K-Rail) is expected to float the tenders for the Silverline project within one year’s time, said V Ajith Kumar, Managing Director, K-Rail adding that within that period, the financial closure as described in the DPR will be ready and the approvals from the central government will come through.
"We expect that the central government will be approving the project within three to six months’ time. Meanwhile, we are preparing the general arrangement drawings, schedules, tender documents, the necessary approvals for mangrove cutting or coastal zone regulatory approval or tree cutting permissions. So, within one year, we will be able to be ready with all the permissions and tender documents. Once 80% land acquisition is complete, we can float the tenders," he said.
"Currently, the proposal is with the ministry of railways and they are processing it for more than six months. So, it is under consideration. Meanwhile, the ministry of railways is making routine correspondence with K-Rail, like asking for the sketches of the railways land which is going to be needed for the Silverline project," he added.
Talking about the funding sources, Ajith Kumar said, "Parallelly, we had applied for loans of Rs 33,700 crore with the department of economic affairs, which has almost been cleared by NITI Aayog and cleared by the department of expenditure and railway ministry. The department of economic affairs wanted an undertaking from the state government that they would take care of the surety for the entire loan amount, just in case the central government is not providing the equity as per the agreement. Right now, there is a joint venture agreement between the government of Kerala and the ministry of railways saying that they will invest in a 51:49 ratio. The chief minister has said that the government will provide surety for the project".
At present, the Kerala state government is going to start the land acquisition process for the project. Out of the 1,383 hectares, the Indian Railways will be providing 185 hectares. Apart from the land being provided by the state government, more than 1,000 hectares will have to be acquired from the landowners.