‘K-Rail will take 127 years to complete’: Economist (Ld)

Noted economist K.P. Kannan while taking part in a discussion on the controversial K-Rail – Silverline, has come out with mind boggling figures. He said “if there is going to be a time and cost overrun” and “if the time taken to build Kochi Metro is an indicator, it will take a staggering 127 years to finish K-Rail project”.

However, if the time taken to build Delhi Metro is taken as indicator, then it would take 37 years to finish the project, Kannan asserted.

If completed, the pet project of Vijayan will see a 529.45 km corridor connecting Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod and a high speed train will run this distance in around four hours and it will cost Rs 63,940 crore. NITI Aayog says it might cost Rs 1.24 lakh crore and is expected to be completed in 2025, according to the detailed project report.

At the moment, it’s a spate of protest all across the state, as the survey procedures have begun only.

Kannan, a former professor at the Centre for Development Studies (CDS), and presently a Honorary Fellow said this while taking part in a discussion on K-Rail asked his former student at CDS, a two time former State Finance Minister – Thomas Isaac, who was batting for the K-Rail project, that if there is “any” documented reference where it has been said that the speed of transport is a “critical barrier” for economic development.

“China saw the maximum growth during the period 1978-2007 and it was after that they went in for high speed rail (HSR) and today 40 per cent of high speed rail is in China. Studies in China, Spain and Japan which account for 75 per cent of the HSR in the world have shown that the end results was disappointing,” said Kannan.

Kannan pointed out that the time overrun of projects which is natural, also is a dampener.

“If we look into the time taken by (Metroman) E. Sreedharan for Kochi Metro and if that’s going to be applied standards, it took him (DMRC) 6 years to build 25 km and on an average every year 4.17 km was built and if that’s the average efficiency then for the K-Rail it will take 127 years. If we take Delhi Metro for the time taken as the standard, then K-Rail will take 37 years,” said Kannan.

With regard to the cost overrun in projects across the various sectors in Kerala, the power projects have the least and if that’s taken as the benchmark, if the Kerala government’s total project cost of K-Rail which is Rs 63,940 crore is taken, when completed it will cost Rs 2.47 lakh crore and if the Niti Aayog figure of Rs 1.24 lakh crore is taken, it will cost Rs 4.79 lakh crore.

The Congress led Opposition has planned a massive protest against Vijayan’s pet project and it will begin from March 10 to April 4, while Vijayan is also getting ready to reach out to the people with booklets highlighting his point of view on why K-Rail is needed for Kerala’s development.

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