KOCHI: Residents of Parakadavu, a panchayat in Ernakulam on the district’s border with Thrissur, woke up on Friday to the sight of wreaths placed on stones that had been laid by K-Rail a day earlier as markers for the project SilverLine proposed. The stones that had been dug up were placed with the wreaths in front of two churches and the bus stop at Triveni Junction in Parakadavu in Angamaly.
While locals suspect that members of the action council, who are protesting the acquisition of the land for the semi-high-speed rail corridor, were behind the act, members have denied their involvement. “We have no idea who did it. Everyone is upset about the project and so it could have been done by anyone, some panchayat residents or one of the many local protest groups,” said a member of the action council. The action council, however, unearthed 15 stones laid in the paddy fields of Puliyanam on Friday.
“K-Rail officials placed the rocks on Thursday and planned to place more in other areas marked in Friday’s survey. However, they did not show up. Anticipating their arrival, we organized a large protest march in which a large number of residents participated,” the action council member said. He said officials were able to lay the stones on Thursday because they arrived unexpectedly, resulting in few protesters gathering to oppose them.
“The demonstrators were evacuated with the help of 50 police officers. Officials set up the stones in the rice paddies and planned to work their way from there. Maybe they moved from there as the panchayat is densely populated and they should have faced intense protests,” the member said. He said the project would gobble up more than 50 homes and nearly three acres of rice paddies. “The action council plans to continue the protests and will continue to dig up the K-Rail stones,” he said.