Silverline: HC seeks Govt., K-Rail response

Breach of undertaking in land acquisition

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday sought the response of the State Government and Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd. (K-Rail) to a petition seeking initiation of a contempt of court case against them for breaching an undertaking given to the court that the land acquisition proceedings for Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod Semi High-Speed Corridor Silverline project would be initiated only after getting sanction from the Centre and other authorities.

The petition was filed by M.T. Thomas, Mulakulam, Kottayam, and others. According to the petitioner, when his petition challenged the land acquisition proceedings for the project, the Government had undertaken that the project would be implemented only after getting concurrence from the Central Government as well as the Railway Board and other statutory authorities.

However, the K-Rail had invited tenders for conducting an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) study, totally disregarding the undertaking. The Government had scant regard for its undertaking given to the court. Even hundreds of hectares of land had been frozen and it was going ahead with the land acquisition proceedings.

The petitioners alleged that the State Government was acting in haste and they were on the cusp of acquiring land without obtaining the necessary sanctions from the Central Government, Railway Board and other statutory bodies. In fact, the project was not technically feasible. That apart, a large extent of paddy land and wetland would have to be converted, causing grave consequences to the environment.

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