The Kerala government on Tuesday issued a notification to conduct a socio-impact study for the proposed SilverLine semi high-speed rail corridor project (K-Rail) in three more districts.
The study will be conducted in Thiruvananthapuram, Ernakulam and Kasaragod districts. The government had recently issued notification to conduct the study in Kannur district.
In Kasaragod, 142.9665 hectares of land has to be acquired for the project, which has become controversial. In Thiruvananthapuram, 130.6452 hectares and in Ernakulam 116.3173 hectares have to be acquired. The socio-impact study will be completed in 100 days.
The proposed rail corridor covers 53.8 km in Kasaragod. The rail line will pass through 21 villages. Of them, the authorities have already identified land in 12 villages and installed survey poles in a stretch of 27 km.
Earlier in the day, Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan announced a Rs 13,000 crore special economic package for those set to loose their homes from the project.
Vijayan announced the package amid stiff opposition to the project by different political parties, citing various issues, including environmental and financial concerns.
The ambitious K-Rail project is expected to reduce the travel time between Thiruvananthapuram and Kasaragod to around four hours, and is estimated to cost more than Rs 60,000 crore.
Declaring an open fight against SilverLine, the Congress's state unit on Tuesday 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. 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 said.