Kerala can have SilverLine without displacing people: Minister

K-Rail is Kerala government’s flagship high-speed rail project, which will connect Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod

The project, estimated to cost ₹63,941 crore, will connect the south and north ends of Kerala

A senior Kerala minister met with residents affected by the SilverLine project in Thiruvananthapuram on Saturday and said development could take place without evicting or displacing people.

SilverLine – or K-Rail – is Kerala government’s flagship  high-speed rail project, which will connect Thiruvananthapuram, the capital city, and Kasaragod in the north.

Minister of State V Muraleedharan said: “Many of these houses are newly constructed, people have put all their money, their life’s savings. Suddenly, when they are evicted they have no place to go. People are in a lot of apprehensions, they don’t know what their future is.”

The minister said he was in favour of development, but it could be done without displacing so many people.

“I am sure without evicting so many people and displacing them, development can happen. Why is the state government insisting on evicting the people?” he asked.

The MoS said that, after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had suggested he should meet the railway minister.

“The railway minister, on the same day on the floor of Parliament, said this project as it is now is an ecological disaster,” he said.

The minister added that as of now no such geo-technical study had been done and, without such a study, the detailed project report did not have any such meaning.

The minister added: “Kerala can have Vande Bharat trains and with that we can reach from one end of Kerala to another in three-and-a-half hours. Of course, a technical upgrade has to be done.”

He rejected allegations by the Congress that there was an “understanding” between the Left and the BJP as far as the project was concerned.