Local people oppose move to close down a road in area

Indicating a further delay in completion of the metro yard in Muttom near Aluva, the project has run into yet another blockade with fresh round of protests from local residents.

According to metro officials, works at the site have come to a halt since Tuesday evening after a group of people staged a march to the site in protest against an attempt to close down a road in the location. “The protesters allege that the road’s closure, which criss- crosses the work site, will infringe on their right of way,” said a Delhi Metro Rail Corporation official. Despite assurances from the officials to establish a new road instead, they have refused to budge and the DMRC is now waiting for the District Collector to intervene in the issue before resuming the work. “The road has to be abandoned anyway on completion of the project. But they appear adamant on their stand and show no interest in addressing the issue at the earliest,” he added.

The local residents, however, said the road’s closure would cut off the access of people in Muttom to Kalamassery. “The road, which provides easy access to Kalamassery municipality from Aluva West, has been closed without any prior information, affecting the movement of thousands of people living in both the areas,” said K.K. Sivanandan, who leads the protesters.

Meanwhile, the Kochi Metro Rail Limited sought to toe a different line on the issue and admitted to a mistake from the contractor agency in closing the road by dumping truck-loads of soil on the way. “We have resolved the issue by promising to protect their right of way and the works will resume hopefully by Thursday”, the official said.

Continuous disruptions

The project site in Muttom has been facing continuous disruptions since the stage of land acquisition, with a section of local residents continuously obstructing the work on account of several reasons. Works were stalled at the site for two days from April 15 with people, who have surrendered their land for the project, staging rounds of protest at the location demanding a time-bound release of compensation.

Earlier in February, five workers engaged in earth filling at the site were hospitalised after a group of people attacked them, alleging that dust was emanating from the road leading to the yard whenever lorries carrying mud passed by.

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