JICA demands 80% of land acquisition in the Semi High-Speed Rail Project

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM (Metro Rail News): In a guarded move, Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) is said to have informed the state government that it could commit to funding the ambitious ‘Silver Line’ semi-high speed rail project only after at least 80% land acquisition for the project is complete.
The condition is put forward by Jica, one of the international financial agencies with whom the Kerala Rail Development Corporation LTD, a joint venture of railways and the state government, is in talks with for mobilizing Rs 33,700 crore funding for the project. The Silver Line project proposes to establish semi-high speed rail connectivity between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod. However, the fresh condition set by Jica, say sources close to the developments, could give a flip to the project than affecting its prospects.

“From its experience, funding agencies usually incorporate new conditions while funding for new projects. Since land acquisition is a major hurdle in a state like Kerala, the agency must have thought of ensuring land availability before giving out a commitment to funding. Since the land acquisition is being done using funding raised through a different mechanism, it could further increase the chances for the realisation of the project at the earliest,” sources said.
The first tranche of funds to the tune of Rs 2,100 crore for land acquisition is expected to the released to K-Rail in a month or so. Funds for the land acquisition is being mobilized through KIIFB, Hudco and Indian Railway Finance Corporation. For the international funding, the talks are with Jica, ABDI, German Development Bank and Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

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