Delay in land acquisition the main hurdle for widening roads

Three road projects that would have enhanced east-west connectivity in the city have been bogged down by delays.

The Kochi Corporation's efforts to widen the 3.5-km Padma Junction-Pullepady-Thammanam-Chakkaraparambu route (located on the Vytilla-Palarivattom Bypass) and the Goshree-Mamangalam Road into four-lane roads are yet to bear fruit, primarily because of delay in acquiring land. The 22-m wide road corridors had been included in the Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM) project.

The third road is the GCDA-owned Chilavannoor Bund Road that begins from Thykoodam bridge on the bypass near Vytilla, passes through Chilavanoor and Panampilly Nagar and ends at Thevara. Though this too was listed in the project, it failed to get JNNURM funds since it is tough to widen the narrow stretch into a 22-m-wide road. The three new roads would run parallel to Sahodaran Ayyappan Road and Banerjee Road, decongesting the two arterial stretches.

The JNNURM had fixed June 2012 as the deadline to widen the Padma-NH Bypass road, which is not even a two-lane one, into four lanes. A senior corporation official said that land owners had surrendered 30 per cent of the total land to be acquired. “The rest would have to be taken as free surrender for which the State government has approved the corporation's transfer of development rights (TDR) proposals. The balance land, if any, would have to be acquired and the government has allotted Rs.25 crore for this.”

By invoking TDR norms, land owners would be given relaxations in constructing buildings. They could even transfer the same right to a different property.

The corporation is yet to correctly mark the alignment for the Goshree-Mamangalam Road which would have eased congestion over the Banerjee Road and areas north of Kacheripady. The TDR scheme can be used to acquire land for this road too, sources in the civic agency said. The State government had given the nod to acquire land for the two road projects using the Urgency Clause.

The GCDA is awaiting the State government's nod to acquire land for the Chilavannoor Bund Road. “With the JNNURM refusing funds, we would have to develop it using our funds,” said a GCDA official. The road's width would vary from 10 m to 15 m, depending on the availability of land. The road would considerably decongest Vytilla Junction and SA Road since vehicles from Aroor would be able to take a left turn from the Thykoodam bridge and reach Thevara and MG Road. The National Highways Authority of India would have to widen the underpass beneath the bridge.

“With more buses calling at the Vytilla bus terminal, Vytilla junction would soon grind to a halt unless alternative roads are developed. A master plan has to be readied so that the flyover proposed at the junction, the metro-rail alignment, and the skywalk that would link the metro-rail station with the terminal easily intersect,” the GCDA official said.

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