Laying of stones on high-speed train temporarily halted as protests continue in Kerala | Latest India News
As protests against the proposed high-speed rail project escalate in Kerala, K Rail authorities have decided to go slow and temporarily halt the laying of survey poles across the state.
At least six districts in the state have seen fierce resistance for more than a week after women, children and the elderly blocked roads and removed survey stones. Affected people thwarted all attempts to lay stones ignoring the heavy police presence. The opposition Congress and BJP workers also clashed with police in many places. A senior official from the Kerala Rail Development Corporation, the nodal agency for the project, said the laying of stones had been temporarily halted to avoid provocation. He said the government had given no direction on this.
But opposition leader VD Satheesan said it was a diversionary tactic and the ruling CPI(M) was buying time until the party meeting, scheduled for the first week April in Kannur, North Kerala. “The government cannot let off steam by resorting to such tactics. As a result, the ruling party developed a sort of aversion to agitations and labeled them as extremist movements. We will continue our struggle until the project is abandoned,” he told Malappuram.
However, CPI(M) leaders maintained that the ongoing strike was anti-people and that it was organized and managed by people opposed to the development of the state. “What the state is witnessing is an anti-people movement. A group of hooligans is behind it and the government will continue the project,” party leader A Vijayaraghavan said in Delhi.
The Communist Party of India (CPI), the alliance’s junior partner, however, said the government would first have to give those affected confidence. “We can’t say it’s an anti-people movement. We must first address the concerns of those affected,” said party co-secretary Prakash Babu. CPI had been uncomfortable with this big-budget project since its inception a few years ago.
After meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was optimistic and said the Prime Minister was positive and expected a green signal soon. But the BJP said the CM was misleading people. “The CM deceives people. Union Railways Minister Ashwini Vaishnav told parliament on Thursday that the financial viability of the project was in question and that a sanction could not be given without having a clear picture of the technical and environmental issues,” he said. said party chairman K Surendran.
The opposition parties and some environmentalists oppose the ₹63,941 crore K Rail project which is expected to cut travel time north to south in the state to four hours from the current 12 hours, saying it is unscientific and impractical and will represent a huge financial burden on the state. But the ruling front insists it will be a game-changer, attracting investment and drastically reducing carbon emissions. The state has announced that it will be carbon neutral by 2050.