Thiruvananthapuram: The Kerala government's ambitious SilverLine project, which is expected to reduce travel time from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod to around four hours, is "unscientific and impractical" and will put a huge financial burden of around Rs 1.24 lakh crores on the state, Leader of Opposition in the state assembly V D Satheesan said on Thursday.
Satheesan told reporters that the project was discussed in the UDF meeting held during the day and consensus arrived at was that semi-high speed rail line, which will be walled on both sides by four-metre tall walls, was unviable as it will end up dividing the state into two parts and will cut off many roads, both big and small.
He said that the cost of the project is expected to increase further in the coming years and it will also result in the eviction of around 20,000 families and the shutting down of about 50,000 shops and small businesses.
The 532 kilometre stretch from Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod has not yet received approval of the central government and K-Rail -- a joint venture of the Kerala government and the Railway Ministry for developing railway infrastructure in the southern state -- has proposed to change the alignment of the track, but the LDF government was in a hurry to acquire land for the same, Satheesan claimed.
He also said that no social impact study nor an Environment Impact Assessment has been carried out, as was assured before the Kerala High Court, in respect of the project before going ahead with the land acquisition process.
He said while the UDF was not against development projects and high-speed trains, it wants the state government to go for an alternative project which is not so expensive and will also take into account the land availability in Kerala.
Starting from the state capital, SilverLine trains will have stoppages at Kollam, Chengannur, Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Tirur, Kozhikode and Kannur before reaching Kasaragod.