Silver Line: Anti-Silver Line excitement continues in Kerala; CM rejects agitation as “anti-development”.

While Kerala continued to see angry protests from people against the left-wing government’s flagship project, the Silver Line, as a railway corridor, Prime Minister Pinarayi Vijayan made it categorically clear on Saturday that the multicrore infrastructure initiative would be implemented as announced with popular support in the southern state.

He dismissed the ongoing agitation reported from different parts of the state against the laying of survey stones, saying such demonstrations were against the country’s development and that none of the projects announced by the government would remain on paper.

The CM also accused the opposition Congress and the BJP of opposing the progress of the state, but warned that ordinary people are aware of their motives. “The opposition congress has become a group opposed to the country’s progress.

The BJP also takes a similar position… Whatever projects have been announced by the government, they will all be implemented with the support of the people,” Vijayan said, speaking at an event in Kollam. However, the opposing Congress-UDF and BJP reiterated their position, saying they would not allow the Marxist party government to implement the silver line project because the people of the state were vehemently opposed to it, and would give all the citizens who are holding protests in different places grant support.

Opposition leader VD Satheesan said the UDF has taken over the agitation against the silver line and will continue to remove the survey stones being placed by the authorities as part of the implementation of the project.

“The people of the state will not allow such a project to take place in our state. We are with such simple people. We will continue our struggle,” he told reporters in Kochi. Union Minister V Muraleedharan visited Madappally, a tiny hamlet in Kottayam district from which police forcibly removed agitators, including women, when the protest turned violent two days ago, and listened to local people’s concerns.

Later, the senior BJP leader assured them that the central government had given no nod to state authorities to implement the project. “People will not allow the government to implement such projects. The center has already made it clear that they did not approve of the initiative. No one can implement such a project by force in democratic India,” he told reporters.

He strongly condemned the alleged police crackdown on people, especially women protesters, and asked if the government was conducting the social impact study by dragging them onto the street. Muraleedharan also claimed that the “police self-importance” in Madappally was “pre-planned” as police officers came wearing helmets and avoided their nameplates to block any possible chance of spotting them.

Meanwhile, protests continued in several places in the state today, including Tirur in Malapppuram and Chottanikkara in Ernakulam district, where large numbers of people, especially women, took to the streets to protest against K-Rail officials who came to install survey stones. Silver Line: Anti-Silver Line excitement continues in Kerala; CM rejects agitation as “anti-development”.

Jaclyn Diaz

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