Govt. will not be allowed to go ahead with SilverLine: Satheesan

The Government will not be allowed to go ahead with the K-Rail SilverLine project being pursued without considering the State’s precarious environmental and economic situation, Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan has said.

He was speaking at a protest organised by the Anti-K-rail Silverline Janakeeya Samiti in front of the Secretariat on Wednesday.

“If the people come to know about the detailed plan of this project, Kerala will witness an unprecedented protest. But, this protest is not just about those who stand to lose their land. It is a protest to protect Kerala. Why is the State Government going ahead with a project for which no social or environmental impact analyses have been done and for which the Union Government has not given clearance,” said Mr.Satheesan.

He said the initial claim was that the semi high-speed rail project from Kochuveli to Kasaragod would cost ₹65,000 crore, but the NITI Aayog said in 2018 that it would cost ₹1.24 lakh crore. It would go up further by the time the project was completed. No one who had even a basic idea of Kerala’s economic situation would come up with such a project. The construction of embankments for 55% of the rail line’s length would further worsen flooding.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) State president K.Surendran said such a project was unthinkable in a State which faced unprecedented flooding in the past three years.

“The BJP is of the strong opinion that the project should not be approved under any circumstances. It will not benefit the majority of the people. How can the Government borrow such huge amounts for the project, when it is currently borrowing even to pay the salary of employees,” he said.

Geevarghese Mor Coorilos, Metropolitan of the Niranam Diocese of Malankara Jacobite Syriac Orthodox Church, who inaugurated the protest, said it was unfortunate that the Government had not learnt any lessons from the floods in recent years.

“The K-rail project will not benefit the majority of the people, but it will also lead to the eviction of thousands of families. This is being implemented only for a small, affluent minority of our population,” he said.

Indian Union Muslim League leader P.K. Kunhalikutty said such an economically unviable project was being implemented at a time when the Kochi Metro itself was running on losses. Revolutionary Marxist Party of India MLA K.K. Rema said the mass protest was a warning to the Government against going ahead with the project. Congress MP Kodikunnil Suresh said the project would divide Kerala into two.

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Printable version | Dec 2, 2021 4:57:40 PM |

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