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Land acquisition for Metro gathers speed
The Times Of India, May 20 2104, Kochi: In an effort to put the Kochi Metro work on the fast track, the state government has decided to take over the land required for the project in 30 to 45 days. Guidelines have been issued to purchase land for the project directly from owners without the government’s administrative sanction. This would enable Kochi Metro Rail Ltd (KMRL) to sidestep complex procedures associated with the Land Acquisition Act.
At a meeting attended by KMRL managing director Elias George, revenue secretary Satyajeet Rajan and district collector M G Rajamanickam decided to scrap several procedures such as issuing 4(1) notification for land acquisition and draft declaration.
Moreover, the government will not have to issue administrative sanction for acquiring land. However, the procedures such as fixing and approving land value by the district level purchase committee (DLPC) and state level empowered committee (SLEC) will continue. Once KMRL gives the requisition order, the district collector can start the survey and fix rates. The collector will then convene a meeting of the DLPC and fix the rates. The rates have to be approved by SLEC.
“Once these are done, we can take over the land. We will be able to acquire land in 30 to 45 days and hand it over to KMRL,” said Rajamanickam. The land owners will be initially paid 20% of the compensation amount.
But the state government has not taken any decision on waiving the registration fee and stamp duty for the land to be acquired. “The KMRL managing director has written to the state government seeking waiver of registration fee and stamp duty. But we have not received a reply from the government,” sources with KMRL said. In corporation limits, the stamp duty is 7% of the land value while it is 6% and 5%, respectively, in municipal and panchayat areas. The registration fee is 2% of the land value in all these areas.
Officials with the revenue department said that they would start measures to purchase the land directly from owners from this week itself. “We will start measures to take over the land required for widening the road along the Kaloor-Deshabhimani stretch. Measures to take over 1.75 acres required for Edappally flyover will also begin this week,” a revenue official said.
A total of 45 hectares had to be acquired for viaducts and stations of the Kochi Metro rail. Revenue department officials said that they have completed the acquisition of around 80% of the land. Now, roughly 9 hectares have to be acquired.
The state government had given permission to purchase land directly from owners as the new Land Acquisition Act, introduced by the Union government, would escalate the cost and cause delays.