Government decision will give a boost to widening of Vyttila-Pettah road

The State government’s decision on Tuesday to approve the plan mooted by the Kochi Metro Rail Limited (KMRL) for direct purchase of land has given a boost to the much delayed widening of the Vyttila-Pettah Road, one of the first activities conceived as part of the Kochi metro project.

The government decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy in Thiruvananthapuram, which also allotted Rs.70 crore to expedite land acquisition on the stretch. The plan provides for purchase of land at a price fixed by the district level purchase committee headed by the District Collector, with the approval from the State Level Empowered Committee chaired by the Chief Secretary.

According to KMRL, the new purchase plan will enable the agency to purchase land based on the basic valuation report, without having to wait for a final nod from the land revenue office. “In respect of the balance 8.822 hectares 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 top official.

He attributed the delay in land acquisition primarily to the promulgation of a new Land Acquisition Act without corresponding rules, procedures and forms. “The land owners are reluctant to give advance possession of their property expecting the implementation of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition Act, which stipulates significant increase in landowner’s compensation’’, the official said.

The valuation of about 400 buildings to be demolished has been remaining a non-starter owing to the delay by the PWD to award the work to KITCO.

The plan to widen the Vyttila-Pettah road for facilitating construction of the metro rail viaduct seeks to increase the road’s total width to 26 metres from the present 15 metres with a median width of 4 metres and carriageways of 7.5 metres on either side. The extension, which includes construction of a station at Alliance Junction and a terminal station at SN Junction, is expected to cost Rs 323 crore.

The high level meeting, also attended by Ministers Aryadan Muhammed and Adoor Prakash, in addition to DMRC Principal Advisor E. Sreedharan, KMRL managing director Elias George, functional directors of KMRL and other senior officials from various departments, also decided to discuss the issues pertaining to the widening of Thammanam-Pullepady road, reconstruction of the South rail overbridge, construction of Pachalam South rail overbridge and Edappally flyover further at a meeting to be held on May 7.

Besides, Mr. George has been assigned to hold discussions with St. Albert’s College authorities regarding the land acquisition required at Kaloor. An extent of 98 cents of land is required from the college from the land leased to it for a football ground in front of the Jawahar Lal Nehru stadium, for the construction of a metro station.

The meeting also directed the Kerala Water Authority to complete pipe laying work through SA road on a war footing so as to finish it by the end of next month and hand over that area to the DMRC for work.

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