Despite Centre’s rejection the Kerala govt wants to go ahead with the controversial Silver Line project
The Kerala Government which called off the Semi High Speed Silver Line Rail Project connecting Kasaragod in the north and Thiruvananthapuram in the south has made a U-turn from its earlier stance and has decided to approach the Centre for permission for the controversial rail route which generated massive protests across the State. While delivering the customary address to the first session of this year’s Legislative Assembly on Monday, Governor Arif Mohammed Khan announced that the Detailed Project Report of Silver Line has been approved by the State Government and submitted to the Ministry of Railways for final approval. But what he did not tell in the speech was the Centre’s rejection of the proposal citing issues like ecology, environment and apprehension expressed by the public. The State administration loses nothing if it sees the writing on the wall and calls off the project which has drawn widespread public ire and resistance from thousands of people who would be shunted out of their homes and farm lands for acquisition of land. The Governor’s announcement that the State Government would bid seriously for the Angamali-Sabari Rail Project .
The move to go ahead with the Angamali-Sabari Rail Project for the benefit of Lord Ayyappa devotees is a retrograde and regressive measures. Hundreds of people were shocked by the announcement because the State Government has not acquired the land for the implementation of the Railway Line except installing stones along the proposed route and that too without the permission of the land owners. A cabal consisting of railway contractors, land sharks and drug peddlers are reportedly behind the initiative to lay the Sabari rail track to ensure the illegal traffic of high quality marijuana cultivated in the dense forests of the Western Ghats to the outside world, according to B V Kumar, who headed the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence for years and had led many operations against drug traffickers. The Kerala Government has failed time and again to focus on infrastructure projects which are essential for the State’s development. Rail journey in the State is a harrowing experience as most of the services between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod are delayed by hours because of outdated signal system and worn-out tracks. The Governor’s speech stands out for its rhetoric and absence of concrete proposals. The CPI(M) has disappointed the electorate which re-elected the party to power. People in the State need a better deal.