The ambitious Silverline, semi high-speed rail project billed as the game-changer in Kerala’s infrastructure as well as economic growth, has moved an inch closer to reality with Railway Ministry and NITI Aayog – the government’s apex think tank – according sanction to the project. The project has received recommendation from bodies concerned, including Department of Expenditure under the Ministry of Finance.
Now, the proposal is under the consideration of Department of Economic Affairs under the Union Finance Ministry which will forward the proposal to foreign banks like Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), Asian Development Bank, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and German Development Bank (KfW).
The approval of the Department of Economic Affairs is necessary for foreign banks to fund the project, which is expected to cost Rs 63,941 crore. V Ajith Kumar, managing director of Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (K-Rail), a joint venture of the Indian Railways and state government, told TNIE, “For availing the foreign loan, around 70-80 per cent of the land meant for the project has to be acquired.
Once the new cabinet is formed, the state government will fast-track the land acquisition for which the cabinet’sapproval is required,” he said.