After speaking tough all these days that come what may, the proposed K-Rail project will definitely take shape, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on Tuesday said that the project might not become a reality if the Centre does not sanction it.
Vijayan was speaking at a seminar organised by the CPI-M here on building a new Kerala. Initially, the Centre was positive for the K-Rail project but following massive protests here against it, the Centre is now reconsidering it.
“The K-Rail project if it has to go forward has to have the Centre’s sanction,” said Vijayan.
This is the first time since the preliminary work to conduct the social impact assessment study for the project began that Vijayan has taken such a position, as all along he said this project will happen.
Incidentally, he spoke about it at the peak of the May 31 Thrikkakara Assembly by-election campaign when he categorically told the huge audience that, “K-Rail project will definitely become a reality.”
The change in Vijayan’s attitude has come after the Kerala chief secretary’s letter to the Railway Board chairman seeking a green signal to go forward has been lying in the cold storage at the latter’s office for a few weeks.
For several days there were massive protests against the marking stone laying by K-Rail across the state and surprisingly even at Vijayan’s home town-Kannur, people came out in large numbers to protest.
But all along Vijayan and his party and the Left front were confidently telling the people that the project will get going, while top BJP leaders like Union Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan and former Union Minister K.J.Alphons and all state leaders assured the protesters against this project that the Centre will not give the sanction for this.
Metroman E.Sreedharan was one of the first to say that the K-Rail proposal was an “idiotic” one and will never be implemented as it’s neither economically feasible nor environmentally viable.
If completed, the K-Rail project will see a 529.45 km corridor connecting Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod with semi – high speed trains covering the distance in around four hours.
Both the Congress and the BJP say that this project is not needed for Kerala given the massive cost which they say will be in excess of Rs 1.50 lakh crore and would be an environmental and economic disaster and would be a huge burden for the next generation.