Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal on Saturday wrote to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan, stating that there was lack of co-operation on the part of the state government on the important issue of Angamali-Sabarimala new line project.
"This is to bring to your kind attention the lack of co-operation on the part of Kerala state government on the important issue of the Angamali-Sabarimala new line project," reads the letter Goyal wrote to Vijayan on Saturday.
"This project was included in Railway Budget 1997-98 at a cost of Rs 550 crore. Against this, part estimate for long-lead items amounting to Rs 517.70 crore including Rs 58.76 crore as the land cost of the entire project, was sanctioned in May 2006," he writes in the letter.
"Consequently, in this project, work on Angamali-Kaladi (7 km) and long lead work on Kaladi-Perumbavoor (10 km) have been taken up. However, further works on this project could not be taken forward due to protests by local people against land acquisition and fixing of alignment of the line, court cases filed against the project and non-cooperation from the State Government of Kerala."
"This has badly delayed the execution of the above project and as a result, project cost has increased exponentially from Rs 550 crore in 1997 to Rs 1,566 crore including land cost of Rs 719 crore in 2011 and further, Rs 2,815 crore (including land cost of Rs 965 crore) in 2017," he said.
According to the letter, the Government of India requested the Government of Kerala vide letters of even number dated 06.09.2011, 22.12.2011, and 08.10.2012 to share at least 50 per cent cost of the project. The government of Kerala also agreed to share 50 per cent cost of the project.
The government of Kerala had also identified this project for execution under the Joint Venture Scheme with Ministry of Railways and therefore, an MoU was also signed on 01.09.2016.
"Unfortunately, within a year, the state government vide letter No. 667/16/CM dated 15.11.2016 withdrew their own consent to share 50 per cent cost of the project. This sudden change in policy was surprising and against the interest of developing Railways in Kerala, and brought into question the state government's commitment to this important project," Minister Goyal wrote in the letter.
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