Kerala Minister for local self-government and senior leader of the CPI-M, M.V. Govindan has said that the Detailed Project Report (DPR) of the K-Rail semi high-speed rail line is subject to change and that necessary changes would be incorporated in the project report. The Minister was speaking at a K-Rail project explanation meet at Malappuram on Sunday.
The statement of the minister is a marked departure from the avowed position the LDF government had taken that there won’t be any change in the DPR.
It may be noted that the semi-high speed rail in Kerala that connects the southern part of the state to the northern part in a time of four hours was subject to heavy criticism from opposition Congress, BJP, and several social and political organisations.
The state government and the K-Rail company earlier were of the stand that the DPR would not be made public to maintain its secrecy. Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan and K-Rail Managing Director, Ajith Kumar in several public functions had said that the project report cannot be brought into the public domain till it gets all the necessary approvals from the financial institutions and the Central government clearance.
The government had to put the document in open after Congress MLA Anwar Sadat moved the breach of privilege notice and the government immediately uploaded the DPR on the portal of the legislative assembly thus bringing it into public domain.
Opposition leader V.D. Satheesan came down heavily against the K-Rail project and said that the DPR itself proves that the project was not viable for a state like Kerala that has suffered from back-to-back floods and landslides. He said that the DPR itself has clarified that some of the proposed yards and the railway stations of the K-Rail can be submerged in water if the state is lashed by heavy rains. He said that the opposition had always taken a position that there was no reason for the state to for such a project that displaces a large number of people and with the high possibility of bringing in natural catastrophes.
Metroman E. Sreedharan also lashed out at the K-Rail project and said that the DPR has clearly shown that the project was not at all viable for the state. He said that the K-Rail would lead to several environmental tragedies and that the government had not even conducted proper environmental impact studies for the project. He said that the DPR should be brought for a detailed public debate and said that he would conduct a press conference next Sunday after studying the DPR in detail.