India: Kerala seeks UAE funds for USD 10bn high speed rail project

rail lineThe government of the Indian state of Kerala is seeking multi-billion dollar funding for the proposed high-speed railway project in Kerala, reports. The cost of the entire project, at 2011 price level, was estimated at Rs.1180 billion (USD 10 billion).
Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy met UAE officials to discuss UAE’s investment in Kerala.
“The high speed railway project is crucial for Kerala’s overall development. It would require investment of not less than USD 10 billion and its funding has been a major hurdle. When the UAE Minister of Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri asked the Chief Minister to submit three viable projects for future investment by the UAE in key infrastructure or development projects, I suggested the high speed railway project from the Kerala side,” said P H Kurien, Principal Secretary (IT), Government of Kerala.
A feasibility study has already been conducted for the high speed railway project and the first phase will be covering the distance from Thiruvananthapuram to Kochi, the commercial capital of Kerala, where the UAE has already made investments for Smart City, Vallarpadam project, etc.
The high speed rail project was held back by the state government due to lack of budget provisions in the railway budget of 2014 and the central government’s plan to extend the Chennai-Bangalore-Coimbatore-Kochi High Speed Railway to Thiruvananthapuram.
The details of three major projects that the Kerala Government proposes to submit to the UAE funding has not yet been revealed by the Chief Minister, the Principal Secretary, P H Kurian, who accompanied Oommen Chandy, told.
“The high speed railway project could be one of the three projects that we will submit to the UAE for investment,” he said.
The proposed 650km high speed railway across many districts of Kerala and neighbouring Karnataka state is planned to be funded by private or foreign investors. While it takes more than 10 to reach Kasargod from Tiruvananthapuram at present, with high-speed rail, the distance will be covered in three and a half hours.

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