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Homechevron_rightIndiachevron_rightSilverLine: Kerala...

SilverLine: Kerala Opposition resumes attacks on state government

SilverLine: Kerala Opposition resumes attacks on state government

Thiruvananthapuram: The Opposition in Kerala resumed its attacks on the Left Democratic Front government in the state over its flagship project, SilverLine, on Tuesday. The Congress-led Opposition asked the government why it proceeded forward with the semi-high speed rail project without sanction from the Union government or the railways, PTI reported.

Leader of Opposition (LoP) VD Satheeshan came up with the question after the Centre and the railways filed a joined affidavit before the Kerala High Court stating that neither approved nor concurred with the Social Impact Assessment (SIA).

Assistant Solicitor General of India (ASGI) filed the affidavit, which further said that the Kerala government is conducting the surveys under the provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Act while the Union government has no role in it.

The affidavit said, "However, if the K-Rail Corporation, being a company, is involved in the SIA and spending its funds for the purpose, such involvement and expenditure will be at its own risk and responsibility."

The Centre and Railways reiterated that both had issued no approval for the project so far, consequently making any action for acquisition of land taken by any authority prematurely.

But Kerala Finance Minister KN Balagopal claimed that what the administration had done so far was based on the permissions given by the Centre. The Centre should examine developmental projects of states and grant necessary permissions and approvals, Balagopal said, adding that it is their obligation. He said that an application for approval of the SilverLine was pending before the Centre.

Satheesan told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan never replied to any of the opposition's queries, inside and outside the Assembly, as to how the state was moving forward with the project when it was not approved by the Centre or the Railway Board.

The CM, instead of answering, announced with an arrogance that the state would go forward with the project, Satheesan alleged. He said that the money spent on the project, which is not approved yet, must be recovered from those responsible, he said.

The Kerala government's ambitious Silverline project, which is expected to reduce travel time from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod to around four hours, is being opposed by the Congress-led UDF, which has been alleging that it was "unscientific and impractical" and will put a substantial financial burden on the state.

The 530-km stretch from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod would be developed by K-Rail - a joint venture of the Kerala government and the Railway Ministry for developing railway infrastructure in the southern state.

Starting from the state capital, SilverLine trains will have stoppages at Kollam, Chengannur, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Tirur, Kozhikode and Kannur before reaching Kasaragod.

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TAGS:KeralaLDFCentreKerala High CourtgovernmentRailwaysVD SatheesanaffidavitSilverLineLeader of OppositionAssistant Solicitor General
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