UDF to trumpet Kerala govt's U-turn on SilverLine stonelaying as political victory

Protests against SilverLine project's survey at Chottanikara, Ernakulam. Photo: Josekutty J Panackal/Manorama

Thrikkakara: With the Kerala government deciding against laying further survey stones for the SilverLine project, the opposition United Democratic Front (UDF) will play it up as their political victory as the campaigning for the Thrikkakara assembly bypoll picks up pace.

On Monday, the state government ordered the cessation of stonelaying as part of the Social Impact Assessment (SIA) study for the rail project.

The UDF leadership was the first to object to the stonelaying and was also at the forefront of protests to remove the stones. Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee President K Sudhakaran's call to remove the survey stones had set the stage for a fierce fight between the ruling and opposition camps.

In the first phase of agitation, the local protesters clashed with the police as they resisted the bid to erect survey stones with K-Rail markings. K-Rail denotes the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd which is behind the project.

The government and the Left Democratic Front (LDF), which have been insisting that stones have to be installed for the Social Impact Assessment study until recently, would now find themselves in a spot over explaining their change in stance to the voters.

The stone-laying had been earlier unofficially halted after the protests intensified. No stone had been laid anywhere after the Thrikkakara bypoll was announced early this month. But K-rail claimed that stonelaying has not been halted and will be resorted to if the property owner doesn't object. K-Rail has decided to adopt geo-tagging method or put up marks on the walls of existing properties.

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