Not shelved SilverLine Project, says CM; UDF urges to cancel notification

Pinarayi Vijayan | Photo: Ridhin Dhamu/Mathrubhumi

Thiruvananthapuram: Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Thursday made it clear that his government's ambitious Silver Line project has not been shelved and its Detailed Project Report (DPR) is still under the consideration of the Railway Ministry, even as the opposition Congress-led UDF urged him to cancel its notification at the earliest.

The semi-high speed rail corridor is envisaged as a significant project to give a major leap for infrastructure development of the southern state and its proposed contribution to the state's economy, industrial environment and social growth would not be small, he said.

The Chief Minister was giving a reply to a notice seeking adjournment motion in the state Assembly by opposition Congress-UDF over the proposed project and the concerns of the local people in this regard.

"The opposition legislator who moves the notice says that the project is frozen. Let me say at the onset itself that this is untrue. The DPR of the project has been submitted to the union government for approval and the information sought by the Ministry of Railways has been clarified," he said.

Referring to the recent reports by a section of the media about the alleged shelving of the project, he said false news was being fabricated to create an atmosphere of fear in the state and destroy the project itself even before it starts.

"As the Silver Line is yet to receive clearance, it has been decided to temporarily redeploy revenue officials and staff to carry out the work related to the land acquisition procedures of other projects. It is misleading to use this (order) to propagate that the project has been shelved," he said.

Noting that the multi-crore project had already received in-principle nod from the Centre, he said the state government had been asked to go ahead with further procedures as per the notifications and circulars of the Railway and Finance Ministries.

The geo-technical, hydrological and comprehensive environmental impact studies in this connection are underway, the Chief Minister explained.

Land boundaries had been demarcated for the project as part of the social impact study and it had nothing to do with the land acquisition procedure, he said.

The government had already assured that due compensation would be distributed to the land owners without any delay even before the acquisition of their properties, he said.

"At present there is no legal impediment to the sale and purchase of the land demarcated as part of the social impact study. Restrictions in this regard will come into force only when notification is issued under Section 11 (1) of the Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act 2013," the Chief Minister added.

As this notification had not been issued, the purchase and sale of the demarcated properties are possible and there need not be any hindrance in taking loan with these lands as collateral, he said when Roji M John (Congress), in his notice, pointed out the concerns of local people.

He also rejected the opposition demand to withdraw cases slapped against those who took part in the anti-Silver Line agitations.

Cases had been registered for spreading misunderstandings among people in the project areas and obstructing the officials from discharging their duties in connection with the social impact study, he said.

Withdrawing those cases was not under the consideration of the government now, Vijayan added.

Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan urged the government to cancel the notification regarding the Silver Line and said the UDF won't allow it to implement it even if the project gets the Centre's nod.

He said it was clear from the Chief Minister's reply that the Silver Line would not come under any circumstance and the government was challenging the people with a project that did not have any approval.

As many as 1,221 hectares of land had been demarcated for the project and no sale or purchase was happening on this property right now, he said.

"Will any bank give a loan if the Additional Chief Secretary writes a letter? People are in great distress...They are suffering as they could not do anything on these thousands of acres of land. The government should immediately cancel the notification issued in 2021," the leader said.

The Chief Minister believes that the project can be implemented if he meets the prime minister and BJP leaders but even if the Centre gives the nod, the UDF would lead the people's agitation against it, Satheesan warned.

The opposition legislators later staged a walkout as Speaker A N Shamseer rejected a leave for the motion based on the CM's reply.


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