Only preparatory work carried out with regard to SilverLine venture: State govt to Kerala High Court

The Left-front authorities defended the laying of boundary stones for its bold SilverLine venture in Kerala High Court, by saying that “only preparatory and preliminary works” had been being carried out.

This comes amidst stiff resistance to the venture from the opposition Congress-led UDF and BJP.

In an affidavit filed within the excessive courtroom, the state has mentioned that it solely issued a authorities order (GO) on August 18 2021, in accordance sanction for conducting a Social Impact Assessment (SIA) examine and for constituting an knowledgeable group to judge the report of the identical.

The state authorities has mentioned that within the August 2021 order it has been made clear that steps to proceed with land acquisition could be taken solely after getting the ultimate approval for the venture from the Railway Board.

However, in the identical affidavit, the state has additionally mentioned, “It is also pointed out that as per GO(MS) No.3642/21/RD dated December 31, 2021, revised orders have been issued according for the acquisition of 1,221 hectares of land of various villages for the Semi High Speed Railway Line – SilverLine – project.”

The state authorities has additional mentioned the boundary stones had been being laid to allow the SIA group to establish the land and conduct the examine.

“The social impact study shall include the extent of lands, public and private, houses, settlements and other common properties likely to be affected by proposed acquisition, amongst other things. So as to identify the lands proposed for acquisition, they should be demarcated,” the federal government contended in its affidavit.

It has additionally mentioned that tenders had been invited for finishing up Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) examine or discipline work and preparation of Comprehensive EIA (CEIA) report, in addition to Environment Management Plan (EMP). As per the letter dated September 2, 2021, the supply submitted by EQMS India Pvt Ltd has been accepted.

“The government is confident that the approval of the appropriate authority can be obtained. Being a major project, necessary preparatory and preliminary works are to be done. Unless the same is done in a proper manner, as detailed above, the same may affect the very outcome of the project,” it added.

The affidavit has been filed in response to a plea by one M T Thomas alleging that the state was finishing up land acquisition proceedings for the semi-high velocity rail hall – SilverLine – with out sanction of the Centre or different acceptable authorities.

The plea, filed via advocate Ok Mohanakannan, has sought contempt motion towards the state authorities and the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd (Ok-Rail) for allegedly violating the reassurance given to the courtroom in January final 12 months that they are going to proceed with the venture solely after getting the concurrence from the Centre, Railway Board and different statutory authorities.

The state authorities, in its affidavit, has refuted the allegation that it violated the reassurance given to the courtroom.

“The respondents (government and K-Rail) have not violated the assurance as recorded in the judgement (of January last year), and that only preparatory and preliminary works are going on,” it instructed the excessive courtroom.

Thomas, in his contempt plea, has contended that even the tender invited for finishing up an EIA examine was in “total disregard” of the enterprise.

The petitioner’s land in Mulakulam grama panchayat in Kottayam district is proposed to be acquired for the venture, the plea has mentioned.

Kerala authorities’s bold SilverLine venture, which is anticipated to cut back travel time from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod to round 4 hours, is being opposed by the opposition Congress-led UDF, which has been alleging that it was “unscientific and impractical” and can put an enormous monetary burden on the state.

The 540 kilometre stretch from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod could be developed by Ok-Rail – a three way partnership of the Kerala authorities and the Railway Ministry for creating railway infrastructure within the southern state.

Starting from the state capital, SilverLine trains can have stoppages at Kollam, Chengannur, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Tirur, Kozhikode and Kannur earlier than reaching Kasaragod.

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