Union government said Kerala high court to Halt land acquisition for K-Rail

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The Union government today said the Kerala High Court that it has serious concerns regarding the Silverline project of the Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited (K-Rail) and suggested that land acquisition for the same be halted for the time being.

A Division Bench of Chief Justice S Manikumar and Justice Shaji P Chaly recorded the statement of the Centre and State governments and reserved the appeals for orders.

This statement today was filed by Assistant Solicitor General of India S Manu on behalf of the Central Government and the Railway Board in this regard.

The statement said "Many representations are being received against this project in the Ministry. Major issues raised are the ruining of thousands of hectares of cultivable land, about 20,000 houses, shops and business establishments etc. It is also pointed out that Silver Line will be an obstacle for the expansion of Angamaly railway station which operates railway sidings for Food Corporation of India. It is also highlighted in the representations that the proposed alignment will also lead to demolishing of many religious structures".

Further the union government advised that "the proceedings of land acquisition for this project shall be stopped at this stage, as even feasibility of the present alignment has not been agreed by the Ministry of Railways".

K- Rail is  a Joint Venture Company created with the object of undertaking project development works for several projects, including conducting surveys, preparation of Detailed Project Report and getting requisite approvals, processing for sanctioning of identified projects and implementation of the sanctioned project.

The union had said it had previously informed the Court that a final decision with respect to the project has not yet been taken and that its further consideration is possible only after the Detailed Project Report (DPR) is properly examined, financial viability assessed and appraised by NITI Aayog and Ministry of Finance. As of now, only an in-principle nod has been given.

The appeals were against an interim order of the Court in a group of petitions which had been filed seeking to stop the process of laying survey stones and all pre-investment activities including land acquisition for the project