In what will be one of its biggest infrastructure projects, Indian Railways is planning to build a Rs 50,000 crore high-speed elevated rail corridor from Kasargod to Thiruvananthapuram in Kerala, Mint has reported.
The proposal is likely to be placed before the Union Cabinet next year for a formal approval, the report added.
The 500 km corridor is envisaged to build alongside the coastline traversing almost the entire length of the state. The railways is planning to operate semi-high speed trains, which travel at a speed of 100-150 km per hour, on this corridor.
The negotiations for funding the project are currently underway with This development agencies such as the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA).
The Mint report quoted a senior railway official as saying that the high-speed corridor will also provide for short distance trains that will facilitate commuters for local travel between major cities and suburbs.
If the Kerala high-speed corridor proposal goes through, it will be the most expensive state corridor project undertaken by Indian Railways other than the $13 billion Jammu-Udhampur-Katra-Quazigund-Baramulla link, a 345 km railway line.
Incidentally, Indian Railways been a laggard in investing in rail infrastructure in Kerala over the years, mainly because of high land acquisition costs. In the last decade, Kerala received a paltry investment of only around Rs 6,000 crore from the national carrier with an average annual investment of only Rs 350 crore during 2007-2014.
The amount has substantially increased since 2015-16 with investments of over Rs 1,000 crore every year but the money has been mainly used for upgrading and maintaining existing railway lines.