Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan assured the American Malayali community that the controversial SilverLine semi-high-speed rail project would be implemented, despite facing opposition and delays from the central government. Speaking at a business and investment meeting during the Loka Kerala Sabha in the US, Pinarayi expressed his government’s commitment to the project and acknowledged the challenges it faced, including resistance and pressure to halt its progress.
“We’re working toward getting approval for the project even as a certain section adopted a stand to sabotage it. Pressure was put on the Centre to stop the project… so, under the circumstances, though the project has not been approved yet, the semi-high-speed rail service will be materialised,” Pinarayi stated.
Highlighting the need for improved rail connectivity in Kerala, the Chief Minister emphasized the disparity between the state’s rail infrastructure and its advancements in air transport, roads, and waterways. While acknowledging the success of the single Vande Bharat service, Pinarayi underlined the importance of enhancing rail connectivity and expressed optimism about the future of the SilverLine project.
“If we take into consideration the time taken to travel by trains, there hasn’t been much improvement over the years… the one area that Kerala is lagging is in terms of rail connectivity, it has to improve a lot.”
During his speech, Pinarayi also mentioned the positive response to Kerala’s road infrastructure showcased during the Forest Department’s mission to capture a rogue wild tusker named Arikomban. He highlighted the beauty of the roads in Kerala’s high ranges, which surprised many observers.
Furthermore, the Chief Minister discussed his government’s vision of inclusive development, aiming to ensure that all residents of Kerala benefit from its progress. He criticized the centralized development model that often neglected outer regions and emphasized the need for a more equitable approach.
“The districts from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod make Kerala appear like a large city, where there isn’t much difference between towns and villages. After a few years, about 95% of our population will become town people because such is the rate of urbanization in Kerala. There is no similar example anywhere else in India.”