Social activist Medha Patkar has criticized the Kerala government’s ambitious ‘K-Rail’ project, saying it threatens to destroy agricultural land and wetlands. No studies have been conducted to measure the ecological impact of this project. Along with the National Green Tribunal, the Center has also not given permission for this yet.
Kochi: Social activist Medha Patkar on Sunday slammed the Left government’s ambitious ‘K-Rail’ project in Kerala, saying it threatens to destroy agricultural land and wetlands.
According to the Times of India, activist Medha Patkar urged the state government to review the Semi High-Speed Railway Project (K-Rail), which is facing strong opposition from various quarters.
He said the Silverline project would lead to an ecological disaster as was witnessed in Maharashtra due to the construction of the Konkan Railway project, which blocked the natural flow of the Savitri river.
“No study has been done to measure the ecological impact of this project,” he said. No approval has been received from the National Green Tribunal and even the Center has not given permission for the project yet.
Patkar said, ‘I appeal to Pinarayi Vijayan with folded hands that he can review the project and take up the issue of privatization of Indian Railways and improve the existing railway system.’
Patkar said that those ruling the country have failed to understand the value of natural resources.
He said, ‘We have lost lakhs of sisters and brothers due to lack of oxygen and yet the rulers of our country fail to understand the value of natural resources for the lives and livelihood of the people. So wherever questions arise, we have to stand up with confidence and courage. This also includes the K-Rail project.
He said that there will be floods in Kerala too, just like many districts of Maharashtra had come after the construction of Konkan railway line.
“This beautiful and prosperous state has faced floods and Kerala was a place that we never thought would be in the grip of floods,” the activist said. But, it is certain that Kerala will now have to look into every single decision related to development projects otherwise it will be flood affected as well as devastation affected.
Speaking at the ‘Meet the Press’ event at the Ernakulam Press Club, Patkar said the state government should ensure compensation to Endosulfan victims and their families before big projects like K-Rail.
He said, ‘It should not be too late to give justice to the victims and their families of Endosulfan, who have been suffering for three decades. Of the more than 6,700 victims, more than half have not yet received any compensation.
Patkar said that no development project should be considered before the rehabilitation of the affected people.
(with input from news agency language)
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