Thiruvananthapuram: Cherry-picking the announcement of Vande Bharat trains in the BJP-led Union government’s Budget 2022, the Opposition leader of Kerala VD Satheesan has demanded the state government to stepdown from the SilverLine project. Along with his vehement criticisms towards the Budget, Satheesan has pointed out that the state should be proactive in bringing more train services to Kerala in the wake of the Union government’s announcement. He urged the LDF government to take initiative for the same and drop the SilverLine project which “will destroy” the state.
The Opposition earlier flagged concerns on how the SilverLine project will burden state exchequer and how it will impact the state socially and environmentally. Satheesan’s new argument against the project comes in the background of the announcement related to the Union government’s annual budget.
Similarly, in the wake of the announcement regarding Vande Bharat trains, BJP state chief K Surendran also claimed that the Union government will give due consideration to Kerala and asked the state government to drop the SilverLine project that is “not going happen”. However, contradicting Satheesan's remark, Surendran praised the budget.
Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Tuesday announced that 400 new Vande Bharat trains will be developed and manufactured over the next three years and new products will be introduced by the Railways for the benefit of small farmers and MSMEs. The Railways has received an allocation of Rs 140367.13 crore in the 2022-23 Union Budget on Tuesday which is Rs 20,311 crore more than the revised figures of the previous fiscal.