Kerala government changes course on SilverLine stonelaying investigations | Thiruvananthapuram News


THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Amid growing public protests against the laying of survey stones for the Social Impact Assessment (SIA) study of the SilverLine project, the government has issued instructions to stop the same and move to a Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS), which is an enhanced survey based on GPS. which provides a high degree of accuracy, and continue the investigation.
The government order, which was published on Monday, specifies that stones can be placed in places where there is no opposition and can also be marked on existing permanent structures without placing stones. The decision was taken after Kerala Rail Development Corporation Ltd (KRDCL) informed the government of the difficulty in continuing the stone laying process.
Rather than planting boundary markers, KRDCL is encouraged to use either the geolocation method using good software or apps, or boundary demarcation by marking on permanent structures. In addition, KRDCL should help the SIA team to identify the alignment either by DGPS survey equipment or mobile phones with GPS so that the team can identify project affected people and collect data correctly, said the order.
KRDCL informed the government that the alignment of SilverLine has been finalized using a LIDAR survey and can be easily established in the field by GPS coordinates using DGPS survey equipment or GPS-enabled cell phones given the violent public protests and resistance facing the investigation team.
KRDCL has proposed that bollards can be placed where landowners give their consent and in other places the alignment can be delineated by marking on permanent structures.
Even experts, who support the project, had suggested that GPS-based readings could be a good alternative in the wake of the protests.
Former railway official Subodh Kumar Jain, who spoke in favor of the project during the debate organized by the KRDCL, had suggested a survey by GPS.
Based on the “approval in principle” received from the Ministry of Railways, the government had granted permission to initiate measures for the acquisition of 955.13 hectares of villages in Thiruvananthapuram, Kollam, Alappuzha, Pathanamthitta , Kottayam, Ernakulam, Thrissur, Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur and Kasaragod for the project.
However, it has also been said that the land can only be acquired under certain conditions, including completion of the SIA and final clearance to be received from the Centre.
The decision to suspend the inquiry which has sparked public anger comes at a time when the by-election in Thrikkakara constituency is only two weeks away.
The indirect vote, which is mainly fought by citing the development as one of the main agendas, will see long discussions about Silverline as LDF and UDF try to project their positions on the project. Thrikkakara is the stronghold of the UDF and the constituency was represented by (late) Congress leader PT Thomas.
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