CCEA approves rail connectivity projects in Tamil Nadu and Kerala
New Delhi: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Wednesday approved three railway connectivity projects worth Rs3,940 crore in Tamil Nadu and Kerala.
The go-ahead for the projects to build double lines to run trains powered by electricity comes at a time when the railways is trying to fend off competition from airlines and road transport.
These projects are 102km Vanchi-Maniyachchi-Nagercoil via Tirunelveli stretch in Tamil Nadu, 160km Madurai-Vanchi and Maniyachchi-Tuticorin stretch and 86.56km link between Thiruvananthapuram and Kanyakumari, according to the government statements.
According to a government statement, these projects would not only speed up the operation of goods and passenger trains, but also provide additional capacity for meeting increases in traffic in the future.
According to Indian Railways’ Mission 41k initiative, the national carrier will electrify 24,000km of rail tracks over the next five years by doubling the annual rate of electrification from 2,000km to 4,000km in the next two years, Mint reported.
Apart from ferrying passengers, the three railway links will also play an important role in serving goods traffic from nearby ports.
A case in point is the link between Thiruvananthapuram and Kanyakumari, with the railways expected to handle 30 percent of the gateway traffic generated from Vizhinjam port which is likely to start operations by 2019.
India will invest as much as Rs3.9 trillion for creating and upgrading infrastructure in the current fiscal year. Of this, the government has made an allocation of Rs2.4 trillion for roads, railways and ports in 2017-18. Projects worth Rs1 trillion are in various stages of implementation under the Sagarmala programme.
In November 2016, railway minister Suresh Prabhu launched ‘Mission Electrification’—an initiative to reduce dependence on diesel by electrifying nearly 90% of railway tracks in the next five years as a part of India’s goal of cutting carbon emissions by 33-35% by 2030.