After a break of nearly two weeks, the survey for Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s pet project K-Rail or SiverLine resumed on Thursday but with it, also began the protests.
The marking stone-laying was stopped just before the 23rd CPI-M Party Congress began in the first week of this month.
On Thursday morning, in the capital city suburbs near Kazhakootam, the project officials, along with a huge contingent of police, reached to lay the marking stones, but the locals got the support of the Congress workers who turned in large numbers.
It led to a chaotic situation with the police taking on the agitators. Amid the melee, police were also seen using force on protesters.
Around five people were injured and rushed to a nearby hospital.
Leader of Opposition V.D.Satheesan said in the morning that as and when the laying of marking stones resumes, their protests also will start and if any marking stone will be laid, it will be pulled out.
“We demand strong action against those police officials who went on the rampage against the protesters who were engaged in a democratic protest. We are taking this attack on our cadres very seriously and hence we expect action against the wrong-doers,” said Satheesan after visiting the injured at the hospital.
On Tuesday, at a public meeting held here, Vijayan reiterated that the government is committed to its promise of K-Rail that was given in their manifesto before the April 2021 Assembly polls.
He also pointed out while there was not much opposition before the Assembly polls to K-Rail, the real problem for the opposition started after people gave them a successive verdict to rule the state.
In a related development, Alok Varma, a former Railway official who was part of the team in the initial stages while drawing out the K-Rail project, was in the capital city and wanted to meet Vijayan and Chief Secretary V.P. Joy to brief them about the huge negatives of the project but was denied permission.
But he met Satheesan and briefed him about the lurking dangers, should this project get the green signal.
Varma said the present DPR defies logic and figures have all been fudged and if implemented, this would be the death knell for Kerala.
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 says this project is not needed for Kerala given the massive cost which they say will be in excess of Rs 1.50 lakhs crores and would be an environmental and economic disaster and would be a huge burden for the next generation.