High Court stays Kerala’s ambitious Silverline semi high speed rail project

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High Court stays Kerala's ambitious Silverline semi high speed rail project

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Kochi, India (Urban Transport News): The Kerala High Court, in an interim order, has stayed all proceedings for erecting concrete structures for the 531-km Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod Semi High Speed ​​Rail (Silverline) project. The order, issued on January 12, 2022, was on a petition filed by three residents of Kottayam district.

The petitioners had opposed the installation of large concrete poles to mark the land surveyed for the Silverline project, saying it was in violation of the Survey and Boundary Act and these structures were blocking access to properties of various individuals. The petitioners, whose land will be acquired for the project, belong to three different parts of the district.

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The Kerala High Court held that projects of “magnitude” like those of Silverline “cannot be rushed” or “completed on the war cry”, rather they should be done in accordance with law, if they require any legitimacy. So the Kerala High Court said. State government. Justice Devan Ramachandran’s remarks came during the hearing of several petitions challenging the methodology of conducting land surveys by the state and Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (K-Rail) in connection with the Kerala government’s ambitious semi-high speed rail project.

K-Rail’s counsel Dinesh Rao submitted to the court that as per the survey being conducted for the purposes of the proposed third and fourth railway line through Kerala, more than 2,834 concrete pillars have been placed for the project. They also submitted that an interim order of the court – in December 2021 – is being complied with and as per that, survey stones complying with the standards under Rule 3 of the Kerala Survey and Boundary Rules, 1964 alone can now be installed. are.

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Justice Ramachandran said, “You messed it up by doing this. The issue arose because of your haste. You have obstructed access to houses. What you have done is highly unfair according to this court. Survey for any project.” Can be done, but it should be according to law.”

“If you start installing such large, leviathan poles for each project, it will be difficult to move around the state,” the court said.

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The Kerala High Court had on December 24, 2021 directed the state government to refrain from placing large survey stones along the ‘K-Rail’ for the K-Rail project and taking over the properties belonging to the landowners. The High Court had also said that the Revenue and Survey Officers can proceed with the survey under the Kerala Survey and Boundary Rules.

OV Maniprasad, counsel for the petitioners, opposed Dinesh Rao’s contention. He informed that no survey stone can be laid by K-Rail but can be installed only by the competent survey officer; And that too by following the procedure under the rules and praying that the ‘degrading stones’ already installed be removed.

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After the state government and K-Rail sought time for detailed hearing of the issues raised in the petitions, the court listed the matter on January 20, 2022 and directed that the survey stones shall be laid as per rules by the next date, by the competent authority. and of the specified size.

The court also directed K-Rail to inform the court what it proposes to do with the 2,834 concrete pillars which they have already installed, which prima facie do not conform to the specifications mentioned in the rules. Huh.

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‘This Court considers it necessary to remind all the stakeholders that if a project mentioned by them is to be taken forward and which appears to be in large proportion, it shall be done indirectly in accordance with the directions of the law and by complying with each and every should be done from Statutory prescriptions which alone can give it any legitimacy in future,’ the court said.

The project has been opposed by environmentalists over the huge cost and its impact on the ecology. Local residents have also opposed the land acquisition. The government has come up with an outreach program to convince the stakeholders.

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Estimated Project Cost of Proposed Thiruvananthapuram-Kasaragod Semi High Speed ​​Rail (Silverline) The project is Rs 63,941 crore. It will connect Thiruvananthapuram with Kasaragod with 11 stations within Kerala.

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