The Times Of India April 23 2014, Kochi: District collector M G Rajamanickam has admitted that land acquisition for Kochi metro has been affected due to the state government’s failure in framing rules for the new land acquisition act introduced by the Union government this year.
“The government is yet to frame rules for the new act and officials with the revenue department are confused as to the procedures to be followed during land acquisition. This has affected acquisition activities for the Kochi metro rail,” the district collector said.
DMRC’s principal adviser E Sreedharan had recently expressed concern that the delay in land acquisition could affect Metro works. Recently, Kochi corporation mayor Tony Chammany had sought chief minister Oommen Chandy’s intervention to ensure that the Metro work is completed on time.
Sources said it had been almost a month since the revenue department made any progress in acquiring land for Kochi metro. The new act – known as the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act – came into force on January 1 and the state governments concerned were required to frame rules that will give clarity to the acquisition process by February 15, 2014.
According to the new act, prior consent from at least 70% of the affected landowners is required in order to acquire land for government endeavours, while it is 80% for private companies. Moreover, solatium of 200% on land value will have to be paid in addition to the land value in village areas. For urban areas, the solatium will be 100%. Another clause is that a complete social impact study and environmental impact assessment have to be carried out prior to acquisition.
A total of 45 acres is yet to be acquired to construct viaducts and stations of Kochi Metro. According to the revenue department, around 80% of the land has been acquired and handed over to Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL). “In the cases in which the award has been passed before December, 31, the new act will not have any bearing. But in the remaining cases, the new act will be in force,” Rajamanickam said.
It is up to the law department to frame rules under the new act. “The issue has been brought to the attention of the revenue and law ministers. The government has given assurance that the rules will be framed by August,” sources with the revenue department said. Even if the rules are framed, it will have to get the consent of the legislative assembly. So, for completing the entire procedures it will take at least four or five months.
The chief minister had earlier suggested direct purchase of land for Metro rail bypassing the land acquisition route but a final decision on this is yet to come even after two-and-a-half months.