Seventeen years after its announcement, the Sabari rail project in Kerala finally seems to have made some headway. The state government has now reportedly agreed to bear half the cost of the project and negotiations on its implementation is said to soon begin in Delhi.
Announced in the 1997-98 railway budget, the project was delayed due to dispute between the state and central government over budget allocation.
The 116 kilometers Angamaly-Erumeli-Sabari rail line will connect one of south India's major pilgrim centre of Sabarimala through rail route.
After the announcement of the Rs 1,566 crore project, work on the rail line had started initially, but soon the Centre asked the state government to bear 50 percent of the total project cost. The work was subsequently stalled as the Kerala government expressed its inability to pay the amount of Rs 800 crore.
While 470.77 hectares of land is needed for the project, the state government till now has handed over just 24.4 hectares of land from five villages in Ernakulam district to the Railways. In the last budget session, the Centre had allocated only Rs 5 crore for the project as the state had failed to acquire the needed land.