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01 Oct 2022, 04:40 HRS IST
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  • Protests against SilverLine in Kerala continue

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21:40 HRS IST

Thiruvananthapuram/Kottayam, Mar 26 (PTI) The Congress and the BJP on Saturday continued their protests in Kerala over the SilverLine rail project of the Left government by uprooting the survey stones for the K-Rail at various places while Union Minister V Muraleedharan visited the areas where people have been agitating.

The project, also known as K-Rail, is a semi-high-speed rail project being opposed by parties, including the Congress and the BJP, as well as by the local people in some parts of the State.

The protestors uprooted 12 survey stones laid by the K-Rail officials at Nattassery region of Kottayam District and placed them at Perumbaikad village office.

At Chadayamangalam in Kollam district, the Youth Congress workers placed the yellow K-Rail survey stones at the sub-registrar office.

Union Minister of State Muraleedharan today visited the Karikkakom region in the state capital where the proposed line is passing and met with protesting families.

"On the first day of #Pradhirodhayathra met with people who have been protesting @VijayanPinarayi Govt's unilateral move - #SilverLine Project. People are opposing it in one voice. People's vows are ignored by the arrogant @CPIMKerala Govt," Muraleedharan tweeted.

The Central Minister on the day when the Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan met Prime Minister Narendra, the Railway Minister had told Parliament that "the project, which has been presented now is an ecological disaster."

"This morning, I met many people here in Thiruvananthapuram. Many of these houses are newly constructed by people putting all their money that they have earned in their whole life. Suddenly, when they are asked to leave the place or vacate the house, they have nowhere to go," Muraleedharan told reporters.

Leader of Opposition in the Kerala Assembly V D Satheesan said the SilverLine project was full of confusion.

"Who is laying survey stones for the Silverline project in Kerala? There is confusion and mystery behind the survey stone-laying for K-Rail. Earlier, Minister Saji Cheriyan said there was no buffer zone. But K-Rail MD said there is and the Chief Minister also agreed. The Chief Minister says the total expense for the project was Rs 64,000 crore but CPI(M) chief Kodiyeri Balakrishnan says it will be around Rs 80,000 crore," Satheesan said.

The Congress leader said there was no need to lay stones for the social impact study of the project and by laying the survey stones, the government is trying to acquire land.

"The government needs to simply mark the place. How did the government prepare the DPR without conducting social impact study or the environmental impact assessment. Metroman Sreedharan has recently said Kerala has loose soil. The whole of Kerala is against this project," Satheesan said.

The Left government is going forward with the SilverLine project which it had promised to the people in its election manifesto despite opposition and the CPI(M) and the government has said that the worries of those who may be affected would be heard.

Former Minister and senior CPI(M) leader M M Mani ridiculed the Congress party for their protest against the K-Rail project and uprooting of survey stones.

"Now, they are into uprooting the survey stones. Soon, the people of the country will uproot the Congress party itself," Mani told a public meeting at Idukki.

Meanwhile, certain media reports suggested that K-Rail did not have any role in laying the survey stones, which was categorically denied by the officials.

K-Rail, in its official Facebook page, also denied the reports that the alignment for the project was altered.

Amid mounting protests against the project, Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday said Modi has taken a positive stand on the project and expressed hope required approvals from the Central government would come at a faster pace.

The SilverLine project would cover a 530-kilometre stretch from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod and be developed by K-Rail, a joint venture of the Kerala government and the Ministry of Railways. The semi- high-speed rail line would have 11 stations at an estimated cost of around Rs. 64,000 crore.

The project aims to ease transportation along the entire north south of Kerala and reduce the travel time to less than four hours as against 12 14 hours.

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