With the Union government yet to give its approval for Kerala’s proposed semi high-speed rail corridor Silverline project, the state government has recalled the revenue officials who have been deployed to conduct a social impact assessment (SIA) study for land acquisition.
The State Revenue Department on Saturday issued an order calling back 205 officials, who have been deployed for conducting the study with regard to the acquisition of 1,221 hectares of land in 11 districts of the state for the ambitious project also called K-Rail. The order said the staff with SIA units should be redeployed with other essential projects. It said the SIA study will be done once the Railway Board approves the project, the order read.
Opposition Leader V D Satheesan said the decision to redeploy the officials indicated that the government is backtracking. “The government should have the courage to say that the project is abandoned. The UDF will continue to oppose the project and go for agitation if it is not yet abandoned,” Satheesan said.
However, CPI(M) leader and state Finance Minister K N Balagopal said the project was not abandoned. “The survey will resume once the Railway Board gives permission to the project. Until then, we cannot keep the revenue officials idle. Hence, they are being redeployed,’’ the minister said. Laying of boundary stones for conducting the SIA survey had led to violent protests in many parts of Kerala.