The New Indian Express, April 25 2014, Kochi: With the delay in land acquisition throwing a spanner in the plan to complete the prestigious Kochi Metro Rail project by 2016, the Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) has requested the state government to allow it to purchase land from the owners directly.
Though nearly 80 per cent of the land for the project was acquired last year, the district administration has been facing hurdles in the acquisition of the remaining 20 per cent land after the amendment of the Land Acquisition Act.
The KMRL too is finding it difficult to meet the time frame as under the new Act, as the land acquisition has become more time-consuming.
The 120-year-old Land Acquisition Act was amended last year and the new Act regulates land acquisition and lays down rules for granting compensation, rehabilitation and resettlement to the affected persons.
“It is really not the Act but the time-consuming procedures that are delaying the acquisition.
“If we can purchase land directly, the procedures will be minimum.
“We have already submitted a proposal before the state government. As for the rehabilitation and resettlement emphasized in the new Act, we have already entrusted a consultancy with the task of framing a proper plan.
“The rehabilitation study report is expected to be submitted by May-end. And once the Board approves it, we will provide rehabilitation packages to the affected owners,” KMRL MD Elias George said.
He said that if the government gave the nod for the proposal, the land will be acquired as per the rates fixed by the District-level Purchasing Committee (DLPC), based on the existing land value in the area.
The same will be submitted before the State-level Empowered Committee and once its nod is received, Kochi Metro Rail Limited will provide the funds to DLPC.
The ownership of the land will then be transferred to KMRL.
Raising concerns over the land acquisition hurdles at the Muttom coach maintenance yard, George said that KMRL had already requested Minister-in-charge of Metro Rail Aryadan Mohammed and Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash to convene a meeting to speed up the acquisition process.