CM seeks PM support for State’s infrastructure aspirations

Modi evinces keen interest various projects, including SilverLine,

Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan sought Centre’s support for the State’s ambitious infrastructure projects during his meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Tuesday.

Mr. Vijayan said Mr. Modi evinced keen interest in the Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod dedicated semi-high-speed railway project, SilverLine.

The 530-km line will compress the travel time between the two ends of the State into four hours.

The Centre has accorded “approval in principle” for the project. However, Mr. Vijayan said he sought a definite clearance from the Centre to foray ahead with the ₹63,491-crore “game-changing” scheme.

The State government had granted administrative sanction for acquiring land for the SilverLine project. It had submitted a detailed project report to the Union Ministry of Railways for approval. The Centre just required to act on it, Mr. Vijayan said.

Mr. Vijayan said Mr. Modi enquired in detail about the possibility of water transport and moving freight in ships from Kollam, Azheekal and Kochi ports to other ports along India’s western coastline. Mr. Modi cited the Varanasi-Kolkata sea route as an example Kerala could emulate.

Mr. Vijayan said Mr. Modi approached the State’s demand for an AIIMS hospital positively. Mr. Vijayan sought Mr. Modi’s help to expedite the ₹2,815-crore Angamaly-Sabari railway project.

Mr. Vijayan said he requested Mr. Modia to include the Kannur airport in the ASEAN open sky agreement in which the Centre is a signatory.

Mr. Vijayan appraised Mr. Modi about the delay caused by two private firms contracted to build a reticulated piped gas network in the State. He hoped the Centre would put pressure on the companies to meet their contractual obligation.

The State also pushed for the expedition of work on the second phase of the Kochi Metro, which covered 11.2 km from Kakkanad Infopark to Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Mr. Vijayan met Union Minister for Railways Ashwini Vaishnav and Union Minister for Petroleum Hardeep Singh Puri.

Mr. Vijayan interacted with Mr. Puri and pressed the case for developing the petrochemical complex in Kochi. He requested the development of the Thalassery-Mysore rail route and light metro rail systems for Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode.

The Ministers promised to consider the State’s case positively after the monsoon session of the Parliament, he said.

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