The central government on Friday promised financial assistance to the Kerala government for setting up a high-speed rail corridor from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasargode, a first of its kind in the country.
During the first high-level meeting in this regard, held at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO), the Railway ministry offered its partnership to the project apart from promising 'active lobbying' for a cabinet nod.
The project aims to connect both the ends of Kerala in just two-and-a-half hours' journey.
A feasibility study conducted by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC), had originally envisioned the project to cover the distance from Thiruvananthapuram to Mangalore. However, it requires the approval from the Karnataka government.
The meeting, convened by the prime minister's principal secretary Pulok Chatterjee, has decided that the project will be implemented with the joint cooperation of the Centre and the State.
Observing that public-private partnership (PPP) may not be feasible for the project, the meeting has decided to seek loan from the Japan Bank to meet the project cost.
The Cenre has asked the Kerala government to submit a detailed project report (DPR) to the Centre within six months. Kerala's chief secretary P Prabhakaran later said the state government has asked the DMRC to prepare the DPR.
Apart from the Prime Minister's principal secretary and the Kerala's chief secretary, the senior railway officials, Planning commission representatives and the High-speed Rail Corporation managing director T Balakrishna were present in the meeting.
"There was a suggestion for incorporating a special purpose vehicle between the state and the Centre and go for government funding. But this has not been finalized," said Mr. Balakrishnan.
The meeting was convened by the PMO in response to chief minister Oommen Chandy's memorandum to Prime Minister.
Source - Asian Age