UDF asks government to reveal detailed project report
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan will hold meetings with legislators, local body representatives, business forums, journalists, environmental groups, economists and other stakeholders to blunt the opposition to K-Rail (Silverline).
As a precursor of the upcoming public campaign, Mr. Vijayan will interact with citizens who stand to lose property or buildings on the semi-high speed railway line.
The commencement of demarcation of the railway line that passed through population centres in 11 districts had arguably instilled a sense of insecurity in residents who stand to lose their homes and property.
Moreover, the government had arguably added to their fears by expediting land acquisition for the project by appointing a special tahsildar.
The CPI had backed the project with a rider to the scheme. The government was required to convince the public about the long-term economic and environmental viability of K-Rail. Moreover, the administration must ensure speedy and adequate compensation to residents who were constrained to give up their land and property for the railway line.
Mr. Vijayan had assured the Legislative Assembly that the government would implement the project hand-in-hand with compensating displaced families.
The government’s attempt to woo public opinion has not impressed the United Democratic Front (UDF). Leader of Opposition V. D. Satheesan said the UDF would oppose the government’s move to acquire land for K-Rail without publishing the environmental impact study and detailed project report (DPR).
Mr. Vijayan had summoned a coterie of business persons beholden to him to endorse K-Rail. Ideally, the government should convene a special session of the Assembly to discuss the pros and cons of the K-Rail instead of holding private meetings with yes-men.
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was also mustering popular opinion against Silverline. Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan had said the party would oppose the ‘quixotic’ project.
It would push Kerala into an irredeemable debt trap and cause immense environmental damage.
BJP president K. Surendran said K-Rail lacked Central support and would remain on paper. The CPI(M) has planned house-to-house visits to counter the BJP and Congress campaign against K-Rail.
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