Amid In the midst of a raging political battle in Kerala over the SilverLine semi-high-speed rail corridor project, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan met with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday to seek his help in getting the necessary approvals from the central government. The Prime Minister’s response to the project, according to CM Vijayan, was “favourable.”

The survey and marking of the corridor boundary has sparked massive protests against the CPI(M)-led government’s ambitious Rs 63,491-crore project. The Congress, the opposition party, is also agitating. In fact, just hours before the Chief Minister met with the Prime Minister, members of Kerala’s Opposition alliance, the United Democratic Front (UDF), staged a march to Parliament against the K Rail project, which resulted in a police standoff.

CM Vijayan said the Prime Minister heard him with “utmost interest” and his “responses were healthy”.

“It was an interesting discussion… He stated that he will meet with the Railway Minister to discuss the situation in detail and see what can be done. We are hopeful that the meeting with the Prime Minister will result in the approval of permissions being granted quickly. We also had a casual conversation with the Minister of Railways…. He described the Prime Minister’s position on the project as “favourable.”

Railway Minister Ashwini Vaishnaw recently told the Lok Sabha that environmental concerns about the project are “real,” and that a final sanction would “depend on the detailed techno-economic feasibility” of the project.

CM Vijayan told reporters after his meeting with the PM that the protests against the project were the result of a “political conspiracy.” Kerala, he said, needs a safe, fast, and modern transportation network because the current infrastructure is woefully inadequate.

CM Vijayan made a strong case for the project, claiming that the density of vehicles in Kerala is high and the road network is congested. Furthermore, the steep climbs and curves slow down road travel. Kerala’s accident rates are also far too high. “As a result, we require an environmentally friendly and stable transportation network.” He stated, “It is critical for our future requirements.”According to Hibi Eden, a Congress MP from Ernakulam who was allegedly hit during the chaos at the Parliament gate, the Speaker informed MPs that he had summoned the police commissioner and that an investigation into the incident would be conducted.

Picture Courtesy: Google/Images are subject to copyright

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