HC wants to know whether the project has been approved by govt.

A Division Bench of the Kerala High Court on Tuesday directed the Southern Railways and the State government to file an affidavit indicating the exact alignment of the proposed railway overbridge at Pachalam.

The Bench also asked them to state who should approve the railway overbridge project in case they had no power to approve the projects.

The Bench comprising Chief Justice Manjula Chellur and Justice P.R. Ramachandra Menon issued the directive on a petition filed by the residents seeking a directive to the authorities not to close down the Pachalam railway gate. The petitioners also sought a directive to the authorities not to proceed with construction of the 7.5 metres-railway overbridge without developing the 22-metre approach road near the bridge. When the petition was taken up for hearing, the Railways submitted that the State government had not approved any plan for the project. However, the Government Pleader argued that it was not the government that should approve the plan. In fact, the approval had been given by the Kochi Corporation. The court, then, said that it wanted to know from the responsible officers of the State government and the Southern Railways whether the project had been approved or not and who should approve the plan if they could not do so.

The affidavits should be filed by July 9.

The Railways in the affidavit said it had no role in the land acquisition proceedings. The railways shared 50 per cent of construction cost .The Railways added that the government had approved the project, which was estimated to cost Rs.52.72 crore. It was the State government that fixed the width of the bridge. Besides, the proposed project was approved by the State government on January 2014 after considering all the factors.

The petitioners contended that as the railway gate was closed, the residents had to travel more than 4 km. The construction of the proposed 7.5-metre railway overbridge would jeopardize the road plan.

They alleged that no sanction either technical or administrative had been obtained for the railway overbridge project. Nor the alignment of the project had been approved.

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