CM urged to drop SilverLine project

Petition emailed to CMO on the first death anniversary of poet Sugathakumari

December 23, 2021 08:35 pm | Updated 08:35 pm IST - THIRUVANANTHAPURAM

On the first death anniversary of poet and activist Sugathakumari, a large group of environmentalists, social activists, scientists, writers, and journalists have called upon Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan to abandon the SilverLine semi-high-speed rail project.

Had she been alive today, Sugathakumari would have chosen to oppose the proposed 529.45-km rail corridor linking Kasaragod and Thiruvananthapuram, they said in a petition emailed to the Chief Minister’s Office on Thursday.

The petition urged Mr. Vijayan to ditch mega projects such as SilverLine in favour of pragmatic, people-friendly development models. The latter were in fact what Kerala, which has been at the receiving end of two major floods, other natural calamities, and the consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, sorely needed, it said.

Well-known personalities, including veteran journalist B.R.P. Bhaskar, activist Civic Chandran, environmental scientist Radha Gopalan, academic and author J. Devika, and representatives of organisations including the Wayanad Prakrithi Samrakshana Samiti, Paristhithi Aikya Vedi, Kerala Jaivakarshaka Samiti, and Save Our Rice Network have affixed their names to the petition.

They reminded the government that Sugathakumari, who died on December 23 last year, had dedicated her life to struggles aimed at the protection of the environment.

The petitioners pointed out that the demand that the government immediately drop this venture, which would split the State into two and push it into a debt trap in addition to inviting an ecological disaster, was resonating throughout Kerala.

“Can we ignore the videos of local people resisting officials who arrived to lay the stone for the SilverLine project in places such as Alappuzha, Nooranad, Padanilam, Karingali, and Puncha? Will the single-line reply ‘This project is essential for Kerala’ suffice to answer all the questions and doubts raised by the people’s resistance to this project? Sir, we too wish to join the protesters to say openly that what Kerala needs is not SilverLine,'' the petitioners noted.

The group also observed that noted scientists, engineers, environmental and social scientists, journalists, and political, social, and environmental activists have, on the basis of scientific information, have issued the verdict that the SilverLine project was technically impractical and financially unviable.

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