Kerala objects to Railways’ stand on Sabari rail project

PTI Thiruvananthapuram | Updated on March 25, 2013 Published on March 25, 2013

Considering the benefit this project would provide to lakhs of Ayyappa pilgrims who visit the famous Sabarimala Temple, Kerala government is committed to go ahead with the project.

The Kerala government has opposed the Railways’ stand that the state should bear the 50 per cent of the total cost for the Sabari rail project, Transport Minister Aryadan Muhammed said today.

Replying to a calling attention in the Assembly to the crisis that has arisen in implementation of the project, he said it was not possible for Kerala to bear more than Rs 780 crore cost due to the financial crunch being faced.

However, considering the importance of the project and the benefit it would provide to lakhs of Ayyappa pilgrims who visit the famous Sabarimala Temple, government is committed to go ahead with the project.

Muhammed said railways was of the view that the project, conceived in 1997-98 at an estimated cost of about Rs 577 crore, could not be implemented as the state has failed to acquire the requisite land.

“The project cost has now reached Rs 1,556 crore and railways say they are not responsible for the cost escalation and the state is responsible for it”, he said.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has called a meeting to sort out issues connected with land acquisition and alignment of the railway line, he said.

Saju Paul (CPI-M), demanded that the government should take up the matter with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and speed up the project as it would benefit the Ayyappa devotees and also people of the state.

When completed, the 130-km-long railway line from Angamally to Erumelli near Sabarimala will provide new railway stations to five more municipalities – Pala, Thodupuzha, Muvattupuzha, Kothamangalam, Perumbavoor and Angamali – and 11 more small towns in Kerala.

Published on March 25, 2013

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