Kerala K-Rail project non-viable: Congress

Thiruvananthapuram, April 5 : The Kerala government is trying to implement a non-viable and non-priority multi-billion dollar K-Rail Project, Opposition leader V D Satheesan said on Tuesday. He told the media here that Kerala’s finances were on the verge of collapsing. “To run day-to-day operations, the government relies on borrowing.” The rail project, which the government estimates will cost Rs 64,000 crore, threatens to overburden the already depleted exchequer, he said. The Niti Ayog estimates that it will cost Rs 1.5 lakh crores, with experts predicting it will cost at least 2 lakh crores, he added. “Can a cash economy like ours or a consumer state like Kerala afford such a massive debt?” Because of widespread outrage and boundless protests, the social impact assessment has been halted, he said. “When the world, including Japan, is shifting to the broad gauge, why should Kerala embrace the redundant technology of the standard gauge? Is this a tied condition to the loans from funding agencies?” Satheesan said that with the proposed project passing through 164 hydrologically sensitive areas, it will amount to an environmental catastrophe. Why are so many people being uprooted from their homes, workplaces and agricultural areas when there is such a scarcity of land, he asked. “The public transport in the state is in pathetic condition. The KSRTC has plunged into huge loss. Why can’t we revive KSRTC by modernizing it with CNG and electric buses?” “Why can’t the government of Kerala expand the existing railway line in association with Indian Railways, using as much railway land as possible by bringing in semi-high-speed Vande Bharath trains?” DS MR

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