The Kerala government’s proposed K-rail silver line project has created an uproar amongst the civil society of Kasaragod district, with it being the last junction as per the route map.
Recently, in the last week of May, eminent citizens of Kerala’s Kasargod came together for a four-day walking protest alongside the proposed K-rail route in the district, propagandising the project’s devastating effect across the region.
Nearly 100 people from different areas participated in the march. It was Innnagurated by Dr Ajay Kumar Kodoth, a retired professor and Historian belonging to a family of stalwart CPI(Communist Party of India) leaders in the Kalikkadavu region. Hitting on the ruling CPM (Communist Party (Marxist)), he questioned how a party that claims to be on the communist line can impose a project that is both unscientific and anti-people.
The march was from Kalikkadavu to the Kasaragod town region, where the K-rail route for the district is planned. Covering, 15-20 km per day, the group travelled by walk, raising slogans and stopping at small towns to give speeches about the possible impacts of the proposed project.
From V.K.raveendran, the editor of Gadhiga (a prominent evening newspaper), T.V Rajendran, senior advocate, kunju Krishnan, Endosulfan activist to many other prominent personalities of Kasaragod district participated in the protest walk.
N Subramanian, an anti-Krail executive committee member, said, “In Kerala also, the population of Ernakulam town is 9 lakhs, Trivandrum it is 8 lakhs, and Calicut it is close to 6 lakhs.” But in Mumbai, it is 1 crore 75 thousand, while in Ahmedabad it is near 90 lakhs. Such metropolitan projects should not be implemented here. because, unlike other Indian cities, it is a regular town throughout. Kerala is a tourist place. We want connectivity, not through this so-called “silver line,” but through a connective rail in general. But this project is only for those travellers who can travel in first class and in the AC compartments. Our demand is for an environmentally friendly, economically and scientifically feasible project. ”
This K-rail project affects the entire district. Acres and acres of paddy fields and mangrove forests will be cut and removed, said T.V. Rajendran, Advocate. General Convenor of K-Rail, Silverline Committee.
“Coastal areas are affected.” Fishermen are to be displaced. Ordinary labourers, agricultural farmers, and thousands of houses are to be destroyed and displaced because of this project. More than that, it also affects waterways and sources of drinking water. The drinking water of the people of Kasargod is going to be affected only because of this project. Moreover, the people who are living in the buffer zone are also affected, said Rajendran.
Social activist and K-rail Virutha Janakiya Samithi member Shahazad said, “Kasaragod is a socially backward district. The proposed K-rail train divides this district and destroys residential, occupational, cultural, and social environments. It’s like destroying a society that is eager to develop.”
Kasarkod’s civil society also points out that neither environmental impact assessment nor social impact assessment was done before the proposal of the project. They said the government now rushes such a process only because of critical voices across the state.
Nacchinarkkiniyan M is a travel journalist and ACJ Alumni. He contributes to Tamil and English media outlets. Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org