With the Revenue department resuming the socio-economic survey for the SilverLine semi-high-speed rail project, the anti-K-Rail council in Kottayam has decided to intensify the protest.
As part of the move, the council has established a permanent protest venue at Reethupally, near Madappally, where protesters and police clashed around a month ago. The latest move is aimed at leveraging the widespread criticism that the State government had drawn from different quarters, including the Catholic Church, following the police action on the protesters.
According to Babu Kuttenchira, chairman of the council, protests will continue at the venue without a break till the government withdraws from the project. Apart from political leaders, a large number of people are visiting the venue, he said.
Kerala Congress leader Mons Joseph, MLA, inaugurated the protest at the permanent venue on Thursday. Mr. Joseph said the attempt by the State government to dampen the spirit of the protesters using police force would not yield any results.
“The credibility of the K-Rail project has been lost in view of the facts disclosed by former Railway Chief Engineer Alok Varma,” he noted.
Saji Manjakadambil, Kottayam district chairman of the UDF, said the coalition would prevent any attempt to plant K-Rail survey stones in the district. “Officers will not be allowed to plant stones on private properties with police help,” he said.
Mr. Manjakadambil also spoke of the plans by the UDF to organise a series of protests, including a human chain, on August 15. “A meeting has been scheduled for Saturday to discuss the protests against the project in which UDF representatives from Kottayam, Idukki, and Pathanamthitta districts will participate. A vehicle campaign against the project will be organised in the district next month,” he added.