Chammany cites JNNURM minutes which say land acquisition for projects, including Pachalam road overbridge, has been completed

The previous State government lied to the Union Ministry of Urban Development on land acquisition for infrastructure projects to secure clearance from Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM), according to Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany.

The previous government falsely stated that it had secured land required for a few road projects, including the railway overbridge at Pachalam, Atlantis and Ponnurunni and some small bridges, said the Mayor, citing the minutes of the 68 Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee (CSMC) of JNNURM.

According to the minutes of the meeting, “the State government stated that the land acquisition is already completed for the project and the project would enable faster movement in the main traffic corridors…It was stated by the State government that land has been surrendered by individual owners to be used for road widening.”

The State had listed the construction of Thammanam-Pullepady, Stadium Link Road, Goshree-Mamangalam, Sahodaran Ayyappan Road West Extension and Edappally High Court roads under the urban road transport projects.

The revelation by the Mayor came at the special council meeting of the Kochi Corporation convened to discuss the fate of the rail overbridges, especially the Pachalam project, following mounting public agitation and litigations.

The local body had been pointing out that the projects could not be implemented in the city as it could not raise funds for acquiring land. The projected cost of land acquisition was often much above the total project cost.

The Mayor also informed the Council that the State government sat on the projects and took three years to releasefunds. The government had taken a few short cuts to get the projects sanctioned, he said.

The Mayor’s disclosure provoked the Left Democratic Front (LDF) councillors who alleged that the civic head was politicising the issue. As the LDF councillors started shouting slogans, the Mayor ended the council proceedings.

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