STATES

Kerala HC asks Centre to make stand clear on SilverLine, slams state govt’s haste

By Express News Service

KOCHI: The Kerala High Court on Wednesday directed the Union government to clarify its stand on the SilverLine and inform it “whether the project is on”. The court also pulled up the state government for the “egregiously improper” way it conducted the survey for the project.

Considering a batch of petitions challenging the survey being conducted by the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (KRDCL) for the project, Justice Devan Ramachandran said there was nothing before the court now to show that the project was underway.

The court said it was groping in the dark as there was hardly any information about the project before it. “Nobody knows the stand of the Union government. The survey is being done under the Survey Act. We do not know whether the survey is done under the 2013 Act. There should be some clarification from the governments,” the court observed.

The HC, therefore, directed the Assistant Solicitor General of India to appear before it and furnish inputs regarding the project on the next date of hearing on January 20. The court told the state government that the issue had arisen because of its haste in implementing the project.

“You have obstructed access to homes. What you have done is egregiously improper. Look at the kind of stones you laid. Surveys can be conducted for any project, but it has to be as per the law. If such large Leviathan-like stones were laid for each project, it would be difficult to move around in the state,” the court said. 

‘Can’t realise mega projects by making war cry’

Orally observing that the SilverLine project was by far the biggest project the government had ever proposed, the court said: “No project of this magnitude could be completed on war cries. Nor such a project could be hurried through. It has to be done as per the law and then only it will have any legitimacy.” If the project of such a large proportion was taken forward, it had to be done implicitly as per the dictates of the law which only could give it legitimacy.

“You are having national highways and acquisitions are being done for it. This court expresses concern in national highways also,” observed the court. “Are you complying with the survey rules while laying survey stones? You are not putting up the big ones? What stones are using now?” the court asked. The government replied that only stones as are permitted under the Kerala Survey and Boundary Rules are being now laid throughout. The court recorded the submission.

CM: Project has Centre’s nod
SilverLine has the Union government’s approval, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said. The Union government and the Railway Board have given approval to acquire land for the project, he wrote in an article published in Chintha weekly. 

Blatant lie: Surendran
BJP state president K Surendran has termed Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan’s claim that the SliverLine project has got the Centre’s approval a blatant lie. Land acquisition for the project will happen only over the dead bodies of BJP workers, he said at the BJP state leadership meet. BJP state unit will meet the PM against giving approval for the project. 

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