Union govt equally responsible for K-Rail: Kerala HC poses queries, seeks reply

The HC also asked the Kerala government whether proper notices were issued to people in whose land survey stones for the K-Rail project were laid.
The Kerala High Court
The Kerala High Court
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The Kerala High Court on Thursday, April 7, posed a few questions to the state and the Union government on the contentious K-Rail SilverLine project. Hearing a batch of petitions against the steps taken by the state government regarding the project, the court asked the state government if proper notices were given to the people in whose land survey stones have been laid. It also asked the Union government whether permission was granted to conduct a social impact study.

The court also asked questions pertaining to the size of the survey stones used, and whether the SilverLine rail will run through Mahe, which comes under Puducherry. While addressing the Union government, the court observed that it is an equal partner in the K-Rail project, which is a joint venture between the Kerala and Union governments. In this light, the latter is “equally responsible” in addressing concerns regarding the K-Rail, the High Court said. The court has posted the case for a later date and has asked the state and the Union government to file their replies.

The K-Rail project envisages 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 are fiercely opposing this project, contending that the project will be an ‘economical and environmental disaster’, apart from setting the public exchequer back by over Rs 60,000 crore.

The state has been witnessing massive protests ever since the K-Rail authorities started laying marking stones to conduct a social impact assessment study and at numerous places. Clashes broke out between protesters and police in some places, as they opposed the laying of the stones in their land.

But since the beginning of this week, on account of the 23rd CPI-M Party Congress, the instructions had gone out to the K-Rail officials not to venture out to lay the marking stones, as Vijayan and the party did not wish to create a bad image when the party's premier meeting takes place.

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