Thiruvananthapuram, The Pinarayi Vijayan-led Kerala government on Monday suffered a major blow when the Centre issued an official order asking all the revenue officials employed for land acquisition for the Silver Line (K-Rail) project to be absorbed in other projects.
When the news surfaced last week, CPI state secretary Kanam Rajendran had refused receiving any such intimation and said the matter has to be discussed in the ruling Left Democratic Front.
As per the order, the 205 revenue officials placed in 11 districts would be posted in other projects.
Despite strong opposition from the Congress-led UDF and the BJP-led NDA,
Vijayan and his team were determined to proceed with the project.
At a crucial Assembly by-election campaign meeting early this year at Thrikkakara, the chief minister had asserted that the "K-Rail will come" and it was greeted by a thunderous applause.
Terming it "unviable", veteran Congress legislator Thiruvanchoor Radhakrishnan demanded shelving of the project officially besides withdrawal of cases registered against those who opposed this when the officials came to their land to lay the marking stone for this project.
In August, Vijayan informed the Assembly that the project will not be shelved and is awaiting the Centre's clearance.
Metroman E.Sreedharan had described the K-Rail proposal as "idiotic" and said that it will never be implemented as it is neither economically feasible nor environmentally viable.
The project was envisaged to be a 529.45 km corridor connecting Thiruvananthapuram to Kasaragod with semi-high speed trains covering the distance in around four hours.
Both the Congress and the BJP said this project is not needed for Kerala given the massive cost which they say would exceed Rs 1.50 lakh crore. Besides being an environmental and economic disaster, it would be a huge burden for the next generation, the parties said.
But for long, Vijayan and the ruling Left was saying the cost will be around Rs 65,000 crore only.
The new development comes ahead of the special Assembly session that gets underway on December 5 and the Congress-led opposition is likely to tear into Vijayan for "misleading" Kerala with an "unviable" project.