EVENTS AND UPDATES

1. A high - level meeting chaired by CM was held on 23.01.2020

A high – level meeting chaired by Honourable Chief Minister Shri. Pinarayi Vijayan decided to set up land acquisition cells in ten districts for acquiring land for Silver Line. Only 1226 hectares will have to be acquired for the project. Railways have agreed to make available unused land of 200 acres in its possession in the corridors where Silver Line runs parallel to the existing line which will further bring down the land requirement for the project.

The meeting was attended by Honourable Public Works Minister Shri. G. Sudhakaran, Chief Secretary Shri. Tom Jose, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Shri. V. S Senthil, Principal Secretary (Transport) Shri. K. R. Jyothilal, K-Rail Managing Director Shri. V. Ajith Kumar and other K-Rail Officials.

Loka Kerala Sabha

K-Rail participated in Loka Kerala Sabha, an event hosted by Government of Kerala to bring Keralites living around the globe under one platform. Project brochure of Silver Line was distributed to the participants.

ASCEND 2020

K-Rail participated in the Ascend 2020 global investors conclave conducted by Government of Kerala. The Rs 66,405-crore, Silver Line project was showcased at ASCEND by K-Rail Managing Director Shri. V Ajith Kumar in the Panel discussion on Mobility Development and Electric Vehicles. “The project will provide ample opportunities for private investment in areas ranging from civil and electrical contracts to tourism and hospitality business”, said K-Rail Managing Director Mr. V Ajith Kumar.

The investment opportunities include:
  • Transit orient developments
  • Engineering-Procurement-Construction contracts worth Rs 38,000 crore for Civil, Electrical and System works
  • Supply and operation of rail coaches
  • Supply and operation of high speed freight trains
  • Supply and operation of tourist trains
  • Renewal power generation of around 300 MW
  • Power storage systems etc.

“The Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV), to be formed as part of the project, will set apart a substantial stake for the private sector for a wide array of related business and services which include commercial land development and real estate, leasing and operation of rolling stock, owning and operation of RORO system and last mile connectivity by e-vehicles. Also, big investment is possible in the tourism and hospitality segment when the project is completed and trains start moving”, said Mr. V Ajith Kumar in his presentation at a panel discussion on Mobility Development and Electric Vehicles.

Shri. K.R. Jyothilal IAS, Principal Secretary (Transport) and Director K-Rail also participated in the session moderated by Shri. Elias George, Partner, KPMG.

PROJECT PROGRESS - SILVER LINE

Aerial LiDAR survey

The aerial survey to identify the alignment of Kerala’s ambitious Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod Semi High-Speed Rail (SHSR) project has been successfully completed.

LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) aerial remote sensing method was conducted on a Partenavia P68 series aircraft that took off from Kannur International Airport (KIAL) on December 31st, 2019 was completed on 05.01.2020 in Thiruvananthapuram. The survey was carried out by Hyderabad-based GeoKno India Pvt. Ltd. Since the survey has been completed, K-Rail will be able to complete the Detailed Project Report (DPR) soon.

Geotechnical Survey

The Geotechnical investigation is being done to obtain information about the soil conditions below the surface for which subsurface exploration is required. Methods of observing the soils below the surface, obtaining samples and determining physical properties of the soils and rocks include: Boring, In situ tests like Standard Penetration Test, Shear tests and Moisture Content test is currently underway.

Traffic Survey

Traffic Survey for feasibility of sleeper trains during night & restaurant cars in day trains commenced in the month of January and has been completed successfully. The survey was carried at selected bus terminals and railway stations.

This survey was mainly targeted at the passengers travelling under reservation during night time in both AC buses and Trains. The willingness of passengers travelling by AC classes in trains during day time to shift to SHSR and use of Restaurant cars was collected. Final Report is expected soon.

EIA & SIA Survey underway

Hydrology study of the project including movement, distributions and management of water in the project area was also conducted.

IN NEWS

Excerpts from the interview of MD/K-Rail

Excerpts from the interview conducted by The Indian Express with Shri. V Ajith Kumar, Managing Director, K-Rail, on the sidelines of the ASCEND Summit in Kochi on 09.01.2020.

The idea for a high-speed rail corridor in Kerala was first mooted by AK Antony when he was chief minister. Why has it taken so long for this project to take off?

The one mooted earlier was a high-speed project and a separate company was formed which did not have the backing of the Ministry of Railways. It was only an idea. Because Railways is a central subject, these projects have to be done in consultation with the Centre. We’re (KRDCL) a joint venture company between the Ministry and the government of Kerala. It has been formed with the initiative of the Railway Ministry. We have identified a basket of projects, of which the semi high-speed rail project between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod is one of them. This was taken up only in 2018. We conducted feasibility studies and a detailed project report (DPR) is in the final stages of completion.

Is this project going to be affordable for the common man in Kerala?

We already have a railway line in the state on which the common man can travel. We’re looking at decongesting roads and how to bring people using their personal cars to this system. We’re looking at a faster mode of transport where the fare will be a little higher because investment is high. We also thought about investing for a high-speed rail project. That option was also there. But there, the investment was almost double and the ticket fare was around Rs 5-6 per km. That was unaffordable even for a person travelling by his own car. In the semi high-speed rail, the technology is conventional and we don’t have to think about importing except the rolling stock. The fares here are going to be Rs 2.75/km, comparable to existing third-AC fare.

How are you looking to fund such a big project?

There are multilateral lending agencies who are willing to fund government projects which are all green. KfW is pushing for green projects. We have already discussed, they are willing and they want our DPR to be in place. We have had 2-3 rounds of discussions with JICA. They’re also keen. We are talking to the World Bank and ADB. So 50 per cent of the funding would be in the form of debt from multilateral lending agencies and the balance as equity from State Government, Railways.

We can also have equity from other organisations and the public. For example, there’s a lot of investment from NRIs in projects like Cochin and Kannur international airports. We’re talking to PSUs like IRCON, RVNL and RailTel.

Will be continued in next issue.

EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH

Congratulations to Dhanesh Aravind !!!

(Employee of the month – December 2019)

Mr. Dhanesh Aravind, Section Engineer, K-Rail has been selected as the "employee of the month" for December 2019. He is responsible for the finalisation of the alignment of the Silver line. He has contributed immensely for the conduct of aerial LiDAR survey and associated data processing.

PANTHEON

Pantheon, the highly sought after inter-collegiate technical competition helmed by the ICI CET student's chapter in association with ICI Trivandrum Chapter, was held on January 24 and January 25, 2020, at College of Engineering, Trivandrum.

K-Rail being the title sponsor of the event provided an opportunity with a Hackathon to the young engineering college talents help them realize their talents and unleash their true potential. The Industrial exposure instilled right infusion of motivation, inspiration, innovation and problem solving capabilities among the students.

Hackathon “Unleash the Rails” spanning 24 hours was conducted as a part of the techno extravaganza to segregate different technical, social, economic and ecological problems associated with Silver Line project which challenged the students to find implementable solutions.

Six teams entered the 24-hour hackathon. Each team was evaluated based on their presentations.Certificates and Cash prizes worth 22K were awarded to the participants who came up with the best ideas.

Shri. CC Joy, AGM/K-Rail made a presentation on Silver Line as a part of the hackathon
A talk given by, Shri. Anil kumar G, JGM & CS/K-Rail on the topic “Need for Long term industry-Academic- Student collaboration”