The Southern Railway has frozen the Sabari rail line project two decades after the project was sanctioned. The decision was made following the government’s unwillingness to share 50% of the expense and the difficulty of acquiring land for the project. The proposed railway line will be between Angamaly and Erumeli.
The files regarding sharing of the project expense between the Railways and Kerala is still at the Chief Minister’s Office. A favourable response is yet to come.
The proposed rail project will add Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple into the railway network. According to reports, 90% of railway line construction upto Kaladi station (7 lkms) was completed in 2010.
The state government had signed the agreement to share the project development expenses in 2016, which was later issued as an order.
In 2012, the construction cost of the railway line was estimated as Rs 2,800 crore. But now, the project will cost over Rs 5,000 crore. The 111 kilometre-rail line will have 14 stations between Angamaly and Erumeli. As per reports, Rs 180.52 crore has been spent on the project.
The Kerala revenue department had completed all formalities relating to land acquisition in Chelamattom, Perumbavoor and few other villages, and declared the land value of the acquired land for this railway line. However, the distribution of land prices to the owners has not taken place due to lack of funding from the Union Railway Ministry.
The project will become a reality only if the government agrees to share project expenses. Reportedly, a discussion held between Southern Railway general manager John Thomas and the state government produced no agreement.
The proposed rail project will ease the transportation problems faced by the people of Idukki, Pathanamthitta and Kottayam districts.