Indicating that fund would not be a hurdle for his government to implement its flagship Silver Line Rail Corridor project, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said that various global agencies including Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have already offered financial support to the mammoth initiative.
Negotiations have also been completed with institutions like Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Asian Development Bank (ADB) and KFW in this regard, he said amidst intense criticism from opposition parties against the implementation of the K-Rail, which is estimated to cost Rs 63,941 crore. Vijayan also made it clear that the Niti Aayog and the union ministries of Finance and Railway have accorded adequate sanction for the state government to identify the means of funding the project.
The Chief Minister gave a detailed description of the government's effort to raise funds for the multi-crore infrastructure project in an article penned in the latest edition of "Chintha", a mouthpiece publication of the ruling CPI(M). Categorically rejecting as "baseless" the opposition charge that the project would destroy the state's economy, he said there is no government anywhere in the world that does not borrow for infrastructure development projects.
Everyone agrees that infrastructure development can stimulate economic growth as well as increase revenue, the Marxist veteran added. "Global financial agencies including JICA have come forward offering to provide financial assistance to the project. Negotiations have been completed with financial institutions like AIIB, KFW and ADB....Its detailed project report (DPR) was prepared by SYSTRA," he said in the article.
Noting that eco-friendly and cost-effective high speed transport facilities are indispensable for the growth of the southern state, he said the alignment of the Silver Line rail corridor was fixed through the considerably less populated areas giving priority to the technical, economic and social aspects of the state. A compensation and relief package-worth Rs 13, 265 crore would be implemented for the affected persons who would lose their houses, buildings, property and other belongings, he said.
Detailing the 'green aspect’ about the multi-crore project, connecting the south and north ends of the state, Vijayan said no reserve forest or water bodies would be adversely impacted by the Silver Line. "A section of people are unleashing propaganda that thousands of families will be left homeless through the land acquisition for the project. The land is intended to be acquired by giving appropriate compensation," he said.
The government is taking steps to address the concerns of people regarding the project and to take into account the views of peoples' representatives, he said, adding that a public hearing would be held to listen to the concerns and find solutions. Barring some resistance out of misunderstanding, the people of the state have generally acknowledged the significance of the mega project, he said and requested everyone to stand united for the development of the state.
Meanwhile, the Vijayan government's reported decision to invite tenders for printing 50 lakh handbooks to distribute among the public detailing the significance of the implementation of the K-Rail project drew flak from the opposition Congress as senior leaders V D Satheesan and Ramesh Chennithala came out against it.
-With PTI Inputs