About 40.5 cents of land bought on day one

Serving a shot in the arm to the plans to speed up acquisition of land for the Kochi Metro Rail project, the new directive enabling KMRL authorities to buy land directly from its owners came into force from Saturday.

According to District Collector M.G. Rajamanickam, acquisition of about 40.5 cents of land was completed on the first day and cheques worth Rs. 98 lakh, that is eight per cent of the total purchase price, were handed over to landowners.

The remaining 20 per cent will be released upon receiving a nod from the State Land Purchase committee. The process of land acquisition will be completed in two months.

The decision with regard to direct purchase of land was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in April, which also allotted a fund of Rs. 70 crore to expedite the process of land acquisition on the Vytilla-Pettah stretch, which is phase 2 of the project.

The plan provides for purchase of land at a price fixed by the Collector headed district level purchase committee, with an approval from the State Level Empowered Committee chaired by the Chief Secretary.

Meanwhile, officials of the Kochi Metro said that the direct land acquisition would help avoid procedures like issuing 4(1) notification and draft declaration, thereby, saving five to six months, a crucial factor to meet the June 2016 deadline.

The new plan enables the metro authority to purchase the land based on the basic valuation report, without having to wait for a final nod from the land revenue office. Interestingly, the new process also coincides with completion of the first year of starting commencing the metro activities.

In respect to the balance 8.822 hectares land to be acquired for the project, 5.696 hectares, including the 3.0138 hectares, can be bought with the consent of land owners by the means of this order,” said a senior official.

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