With an aim to boost infrastructure, Indian Railways is planning to develop a dedicated pan-Kerala elevated railway corridor, with an investment of Rs 500 billion. The proposed 500-km corridor will stretch from Kasargod to Thiruvananthapuram and connect the state’s northern and southern regions.
Development agencies such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) will reportedly fund the project. According to reports, all major cities will be connected with the suburbs through this high-speed corridor in 30 minutes, for people to use it for local travel as well.
This is supposed to be the Indian Railways’ most expensive state corridor, apart from the $13-billion Jammu-Udhampur-Katra-Quazigund-Baramulla link, a 345-km railway line. This rail corridor proposal is expected to be sent to the Kerala cabinet for its consent next year. As reported, the initial plans include operations of semi-high speed trains, which run at a speed of 100-150 km per hour, since the corridor will be elevated with no hindrances.
Kerala has been on the Indian Railways’ roadmap for a makeover. Ernakulam is already going to get a renovation as per the station redevelopment programme. The National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC) will undertake the project, aiming for completion by 2022.
Investment from the Indian Railways in Kerala over the years has been little, primarily due to higher land prices. There was only an investment of around Rs 60 billion from the carrier, with an average of Rs 3.5 billion being funded annually during 2007-2014.
The amount saw a remarkable increase after 2015-16 when the investment touched nearly Rs 10 billion every year. Kerala received Rs 9 billion from the Railways in 2018-19. However, this amount has been primarily utilised for modification and maintenance of existing railway lines.