Metroman E.Sreedharan, who has called the K-Rail or SilverLine project ill-conceived, badly planned and very badly handled, on Thursday termed debate on the project a “farce”, as the state government is not going to budge.
This morning, while a government sponsored debate was underway in the state capital, people in Vijayan’s constituency Kannur were protesting against it.
Managed by K-Rail, the debate lost its steam ever Joseph C.Mathew, who was supposed to speak against the project, was dropped from the panel. Following his unceremonius removal, two more eminent people –Alok Varma (former Railway official) and environmentalist Sreedhar Radhakrishnan — opted out.
Hence, the only person who appeared for the debate in the panel opposed to the project was veteran engineer R.V.G. Menon, who said this debate makes no sense, when the government is determined to proceed with it.
“This debate should have been held at least four years back. The entire project of K-Rail is just being imposed upon because they have already said that this is going to be in standard gauge, which is a technology which is not going to be inter-operable as no other trains can be run on this track. A project of this nature should have been seriously discussed and debated at length,” said Menon.
While Menon was the only speaker who spoke against it, three others spoke for it, but failed to give answers to key questions that have been raised for long on its economic viability, on the environmental concerns and similar concerns.
As the debate was on, angry protesters took on the officials of the K-Rail who had come to lay the marking stones at Vijayan’s constituency.
Following a tussle, few of the protesters were taken into custody and the officials laid the stones and after a while it was pulled out by others who are opposed to it.
“We do not want this project, which will offer us nothing. We are losing our homes and our land,” said angry protesters.
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.
While Vijayan and the Kerala unit of the CPI-M is out and out for this project, both the Congress and the BJP say this project is not needed 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.