Kerala

SilverLine survey stones removed by protesters

A survey stone for the proposed SilverLine project being removed from a paddy field in Parakkadavu panchayat in Ernakulam district.

A survey stone for the proposed SilverLine project being removed from a paddy field in Parakkadavu panchayat in Ernakulam district.

Public protests against the Left Democratic Front government’s flagship SilverLine semi-high-speed railway line went up a notch in Parakkadavu grama panchayat near Angamaly in Ernakulam district after people on Friday morning removed the survey stones laid for the project in a paddy field there.

The majority of the 15 survey stones laid in Ward 16 was removed on Thursday night by the local people before the K-Rail Virudha Janakeeya Samiti acted on its decision to do so. The remaining four stones were uprooted by samiti office-bearers in the morning.

Around 30 protesters, under the aegis of the samiti, marched to the Triveni paddy field at Puliyanam and removed the survey stones placed by the authorities.

“We also put wreathed survey stones at three junctions in the panchayat through which the project passes. We have made it unequivocally clear that we will protest against the project with people’s participation if the authorities ignore public sentiments,” says Nithin Saju, member of Ward 16 and samiti patron. Members of Wards 17 and 18 are also part of the samiti since the project passes through their wards as well.

A surveyor visited the site on Friday morning to prepare a report about the removal of the stones.

K-Rail authorities, with the support of revenue officials and a large police contingent, laid the survey stones on Thursday morning after being forced to turn away a day before in the face of popular protest.

An emergency meeting of the samiti on Thursday night decided to intensify the protest against the project and enlist women and children, if needed. It was also decided to launch a door-to-door campaign against the project, which is likely to displace about 50 families in the area, and to oppose the laying of survey stones.

“They have laid survey stones on paddy fields until now. The protest will be stiffer if they enter residential areas and even the police will find it hard to tackle the situation,” warns Mr. Saju.

Meanwhile, the Angamaly police are awaiting a statement from the K-Rail authorities to register a case in connection with the uprooting of the survey stones.

Angamaly legislator and Congress leader Roji M. John, in a Facebook post, said: “Salute to those brave hearts who gave a befitting reply to the arrogance shown by the Pinarayi Vijayan government who goes ahead with the SilverLine project challenging the people,” he said.

( With inputs from Press Trust of India )


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Printable version | May 20, 2022 1:01:52 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/silverline-survey-stones-removed-by-protesters/article38304102.ece