Silver Line Project

Context:

  • The Ministry of Railways has granted in-principle approval for the ‘Silver Line’ project, a proposal of the Kerala government.
  • Now Critical voices have grown in strength citing ecological concerns

About the Project:

  • It involves laying of semi high-speed trains between the two corners of the state of Kerala.
  • It is 532- km long. The corridor will be built away from the existing line between Thiruvananthapuram and Thrissur.
  • It aims to connect major districts and towns with semi high-speed trains that will run on their own tracks.
  • The Kerala Rail Development Corporation (K-Rail), a joint venture between the Ministry of Railways and the Kerala government to execute projects on a cost-sharing basis.

Prominent Voices

  • Mr. Sreedharan, India’s most prominent railway engineer has described the project as an invitation to environmental disaster mainly through flooding
  • Professor Gadgil an eminent ecologist has spoken against the project as it is being against the interests of the people of the state.
  • In a democracy the government must be guided by public opinion rather than attempting to manufacture consent on its schemes.
Economic Viability
  • While it is a threat to ecological security as flagged by scientists, it can also be nightmare in terms of economic viability.
  • It is difficult to judge how much the public are ready to pay for a new service to be provided by the government.
  • The government has to keep in mind that, the light rail projects all around the world have ended up making losses.
Path Ahead for Kerala:
  • There is no monetary value that can be compensated for ecological damages.
  • The Earth will not continue to offer its harvest, except with faithful stewardship. We cannot say we love the land and then take steps to destroy it for use by future generations.
  • As the two extremities of the state are already connected by roads and rail, the government must think before going ahead with this project at a huge cost.
  • There are several other projects which are deserving public investment such as power supply based on green energy, education, health, etc.

Source: THE HINDU.

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