Kerala

SilverLine will tear State asunder: UDF

On Thursday, a United Democratic Front (UDF) meeting opened a new battlefront against the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government by resolving to muster popular resistance against the K-Rail project.

At a press conference here, Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan and UDF convener M.M. Hassan doubted the economic and environmental viability of the government's flagship semi-high-speed railway project.

Quoting from the M.K. Muneer subcommittee report on K-Rail, Mr. Satheesan said SilverLine would tear the State asunder geographically. A 557-km line protected on either side by 4 to 10 m walls would bifurcate the State, and it would impede the natural flow of water and act as a dam in the event of a flood or mud slip.

The project required the acquisition of 1,500 hectares of land and displacement of an estimated 20,000 families, 50,000 shops and 153 hectares of farmland. The Centre had sanctioned a standalone elevated high-speed railway system. However, K-Rail hugged the terrain and required the construction of more than 1,000 over and underpasses. It could carry only a minimal number of passengers.

Instead, the government should go in for a network of small airports and strengthen the existing railway system for high-speed traffic. The government has conducted no environmental or social impact study. People were in the dark as to whether the Silverline would cut across their property. The land acquisition scheme was opaque.

Mr. Hassan said the UDF would treat all constituents alike and bolster the coalition at the booth, block and mandala levels. He said organisational weakness had contributed to the UDF's defeat in the 2021 Assembly elections. Moreover, the public health emergency caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic helped the LDF surmount the anti-incumbency factor.


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Printable version | Dec 8, 2021 1:37:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/silverline-will-tear-state-asunder-udf/article36637235.ece

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