Kerala minister slams Vaishnaw for 'very little interest in development' remark

09:20 AM Aug 07, 2023 | PTI |

Kerala Minister V Abdurahiman on Sunday refuted Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw’s allegations that the state has ”very little interest in development” and accused him of turning a blind eye towards the neglect faced by the southern state.


Abdurahiman also asked Vaishnaw to advise his own party leaders in Kerala not to obstruct the developmental works in the state ”The Union Minister should advise his own party leaders in Kerala who are at the forefront of halting development in the state.

”It was a contest between the BJP and UDF to stop the survey for K-Rail. Everyone knows that there is a Union Minister of State from Kerala who consistently obstructs the progress of state-level development initiatives,” he said.

At a press conference in New Delhi on Sunday, when Vaishnaw was asked about long-pending projects like the Sabarimala Rail in Kerala, he said it was a special case as the state government has very little interest in development.

”That is why even for small things like surveys or preparing detailed project reports we find so much resistance that it’s really difficult to do any work. Even then the Centre is committed to the development of the rail network in Kerala,” the Union minister said.


Abdurahiman, in a statement, urged Vaishnaw to disclose the reasons that were creating hurdles in the Sabarimala rail project.

”That project was approved in 1997 and the state government had even agreed to bear half the cost,” he said and alleged that the Union minister was turning a blind eye towards the neglect faced by the state.

Abdurahiman, who is also the state railway minister, said Kerala was allotted old and rickety coaches and alleged that the Vande Bharat was given to the southern state after considering all other states.

Vaishnav has alleged that ”the political class of Kerala created a totally imaginary narrative that the Vande Bharat train will not be given to the state”.

”But you see Vande Bharat has been given to every state which has an electrified broad gauge network. We believe that the entire country should grow simultaneously but we need the support of state governments,” the Union railway minister said.

Abdurahiman also listed out Kerala’s long-pending demands for the development of railways and said the projects, including the Palakkad coach factory, a railway zone, Nemom terminal and doubling the Alappuzha route, are in cold storage.

”The Union government always cites lack of funds as an excuse or says that the project was not under consideration,” he alleged.

The Kerala minister claimed that despite meeting the Union minister multiple times and sending numerous request letters, nothing has changed.

Even after submitting the detailed project report for the semi-high-speed Silverline project in Kerala, which was initially given an in-principle nod by the Union Railway Ministry, permission was not given, Abdurahiman said.

The ambitious SilverLine rail corridor project of the Left government in Kerala envisaged to cover a 530-kilometre stretch from Thiruvananthapuram in the south to Kasaragod in the north and was estimated to cost around Rs 64,000 crore.

It aimed at making transportation easy along the entire north-south of Kerala and reducing travel time to less than four hours from 12 to 14 hours.


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