K-Rail: Congress says will uproot survey poles, alleges commission bid by Pinarayi

K Sudhakaran
K Sudhakaran addresses media in Thiruvananthapuram.

Declaring an open fight against SilverLine, the CPM-led Kerala government's ambitious project, the Congress's state unit said its activists would uproot the survey poles installed as part of land acquisition for the proposed semi high-speed rail corridor.

Congress state chief K Sudhakaran alleged that Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan was eyeing a huge commission from the project which is unofficially estimated to cost around Rs 2 lakh crore.

“The chief minister says the project would cost Rs 64,000 crore whereas the Niti Ayog pegs the cost at Rs 1.3 lakh crore," Sudhakaran said after a meeting of Congress's Political Affairs Committee in Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday.

"It is widely estimated that the real expense would be around Rs 2 lakh crore. Pinarayi Vijayan is eyeing a 5 per cent commission from the project. He is a master of gaining commission. We have seen it since his Lavalin deal days."

The Congress announced its protest plans the day when Vijayan has started his public outreach programme to dispel the many concerns that are in the air about the project.

“The chief minister is trying to convince the people about his project. Does he really think that the people will accept an impending disaster,” Sudhakaran asked.

“We will uproot the survey poles that have been installed despite the high court asking the government not to do so. We will uproot them with the people's support,” the Congress leader warned the government.

He alleged that the government was planning to procure an outdated technology for the project even without inviting tender.

“It is estimated that 10,757 hectares of forest and 1,277 hectares of revenue land will go to real estate in the name of K-Rail. With that the state's environmental disaster will be complete. What will be then left in a small state like Kerala,” he asked.

The PCC chief said the Congress would carry out a series of public outreach programmes including door-to-door campaigns, distribution of leaflets and seminars. The party would line up the best of the environmental experts to convince the people about the dangers of the project.

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