Over 32 hectares of land is yet to be acquired
Over 32 hectares of land would have to be acquired for the Kochi metro rail project that is expected to considerably reduce traffic congestion in the city and its suburbs.
Most of this is open land is available on either side of the Aluva-MG Road-Pettah alignment of the system of mass rapid transit. The frontage of a few buildings will have to be pulled down, mostly in the city hub, to widen narrow roads into four-lane ones. Only then can the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) construct the about-two-metre-wide pillars along the central median without affecting traffic. Apart from ensuring construction of the pillars, the road-widening will remove encroachers and ensure uniformly-wide roads, thus ensuring smoother flow of vehicles.
Most of the 24 metro stations would be located in open spaces. Parking lots too are expected to be built alongside. But for the objection raised by a few land owners in MG Road (where about seven cents of land is needed) and the Jos Junction-South Railway Station stretch over the compensation amount, there has so far been no major opposition to the land acquisition process. A few land owners along the Vyttila-Pettah Road want the width to be reduced from the proposed 30 m to 26 m in some portions.
A land acquisition official said that Rs. 80 crore is required to acquire land for the preliminary works of the metro rail, to compensate those who surrender land for widening the MG Road, South Station approach road and Banerjee Road. “The paper works is almost ready and funds are awaited. The widening can be completed within a month of taking possession of the lands.”
As for acquiring land for the metro project (the metro stations, parking lots, the coach-repair yard at Muttom etc.), the initial survey is over. The Cusat is yet to submit a report on parking lots. The DMRC has sought 17 hectares of land at Muttom for the yard and the adjacent staff quarters.
Sources in the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) said that there are plans to acquire some more land near the Muttom yard, so that it can be used for commercial purposes.
“The objections raised by some land owners in the city hub can be overcome by acquiring land using the Land Acquisition Act. Traders, especially those who surrender land for metro stations will considerably benefit from the increased visibility of their establishments once the metro is commissioned. All the land required for the project will be acquired by December.”
The district-level purchase committee had fixed Rs. 40 lakh as the maximum compensation payable for land acquired in MG Road and South Railway Station’s approach road. The land owners are demanding Rs. one crore. “Chief Minister Oomen Chandy has promised to look into our demand for an enhanced compensation for our lands,” said M.V. Varghese, the convenor of the land owners’ association.