The crisis over of the Kochi Metro’s Muttom yard may have blown over. But the uncertainty that has dogged the widening of Pettah-Vyttila Road, one of the first activities conceived as part of the Kochi Metro project, continues.

Officials with the district administration hinted that the plan would remain on the backburner for some more time owing to the delay in entrusting KITCO with the building valuation.

“The survey of land has been in the final stages while the valuation of about 400 buildings to be demolished remains a non-starter. The PWD secretary is yet to issue a letter requesting KITCO to take up the work,” said a top official.

Revenue officials attributed the pendency in land acquisition also to the delay in framing rules based on the Centre’s new Land Acquisition Act 2013, which envisages a significant increase in landowner’s compensation.

‘Owners reluctant’

“The Majority of the land owners are reluctant to give advance possession expecting the compensation to go up significantly from the current offer price of Rs.20.5 lakh per cent fixed by the District Level Purchasing Committee’’, said P. Sobhana, Deputy Collector, Land acquisition.

“The District Collector will be convening a review meeting to settle the issue next week, which will be followed by a conference of shop owners in Banerjee Road and MG Road, where narrow portions remain to be acquired”, Ms. Sobhana said.

Meanwhile, official sources said that Kochi Metro authorities are set to embark on a direct purchase plan to tackle the tardy pace of land acquisition in the 3-km stretch. “The authority has given a letter to the Chief Secretary seeking permission in this regard as the process would require consent from various departments with regard to relaxation of stamp duty and related concessions’’, they explained.

The plan to widen the Vyttila-Pettah road, for facilitating construction of Kochi Metro, seeks to increase the road’s average width to 26 metres from the present 15 metres, with a median width of 4 metres and carriage ways of 7.5 metres on either side.

It was way back on April 11, 2008, a notification on widening the stretch into four-lane was issued.

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