KERALA (Metro Rail News): Kerala is broiled in major controversy due to the SilverLine semi-high speed rail corridor project. Pinarayi Vijayan, Chief Minister, Kerala on Thursday, 24th March met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and looked for his intervention for speeding up necessary approvals from the central government. Vijayan after the meeting said that the Prime Minister’s response to the project was favourable.
The Rs 63,491-crore ambitious SilverLine project has been facing massive protests over the survey and marking of the corridor boundary.
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Hours before the Chief Minister met the Prime Minister, MPs from the UDF which is Kerala’s Opposition alliance took out a protest march to Parliament against the K-Rail project, which turned into a brawl between them and the police.
Vijayan said that in the meeting, Prime Minister Modi heard him with full interest and his responses were healthy. “It was a good discussion… he said he will have a detailed discussion with the Railway Minister and see what can be done. We hope that the meeting with the Prime Minister will lead to a speedy sanction of permissions. We also had an informal interaction with the Railway Minister…. The Prime Minister’s stand on the project was favourable,” he said.
Previously Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw in Lok Sabha said that the concerns over the environmental issues linked to the project are real and a final decision will depend upon the detailed techno-economic feasibility of the project.
After his meeting with PM, Vijayan told the reporters that there was a “political conspiracy” behind the protests against the project and that Kerala requires a safe, speedy and modern transport network as the current facilities in the state are not good. he also said that the vehicle density in Kerala is high whereas the roads are not sufficient to handle it. Due to this, the accident rates are also very high therefore the state needs a stable transport network.
The concerns over forthcoming impact on nearby houses and buildings due to the SilverLine project have emerged. The Detailed Project Report (DPR) has totally hinted at challenges to the houses and buildings near the proposed railway line. K-Rail has claimed that only a 10-metre buffer zone is needed to protect the surroundings whereas DPR suggests construction activity will require stretch of land more than that.
According to the renowned academician and environmentalist RVG Menon, the DPR is not detailed in regards to the challenges it would pose to the locals and therefore he termed the DPR as incomplete.