New projects sought by Kerala for developing the State’s rail network have failed to make it to the Pink Book as the thrust of allocations in the 2021-2022 Union Budget is for completion of doubling in three corridors.
Compared to the paltry allocation provided in the 2020-2021 Budget for doubling, ₹490 crore has been allotted this year, including the highest provision of ₹275 crore for the 86.56-km corridor from Thiruvananthapuram Central to Kanyakumari.
Doubling of the line from Kayamkulam to Ernakulam via Kottayam has been provided ₹170 crore and via Alappuzha ₹45 crore. Officials say this will enable completion of doubling of the 18-km Ambalappuzha-Haripad stretch and 18-km Ettumanur-Chingavanam stretch by 2022.
The doubling of the Ettumanur-Chingavanam stretch will pave the way for the 620-km line from Mangaluru Junction to Thiruvananthapuram Central, bringing more trains to the south.
The doubling of the 69-km Ernakulam-Ambalappuzha stretch and the 86.56-km Thiruvananthapuram Central-Kanyakumari stretch figure in the Vision 2024 of Railways. A sum of ₹3,000 crore is needed for both works and the sum has been assured in the next three years, official sources said.
Of the ₹275 crore provided for Thiruvananthapuram Central-Kanyakumari line’s doubling, ₹120 crore is for land acquisition.
Although the coaching terminal at Nemom failed to get funds as the Detailed Project Report is yet to be cleared by the Railway Board, the construction wing will push for acquiring land in the Thiruvananthapuram-Nemom section.
The State’s demand for the 529.45-km semi high-speed railway corridor SilverLine from Kochuveli to Kasaragod and the 116-km Angamaly-Erumely Sabari Rail to bring Sabarimala on the rail map were not heeded.
Although Railways have not ‘defreezed’ Sabari Rail despite Kerala agreeing to share 50% of cost at the last minute, ₹1,000 has been provided.
The 107-km third line from Ernakulam to Shoranur and the Kollam-Tirunelveli-Trichendur-Tenkasi-Virudhu Nagar line have been given a token allocation of ₹1,000 each, while no funds have been provided in the budget to the 35-km Guruvayur-Thirunavaya line.