Rs.450 crore required for land acquisition alone, says the former Ports Minister

Former Ports Minister V. Surendran Pillai has termed totally inadequate the Rs.150 crore set apart in the Budget for the Vizhinjam sea port project.

In a statement here on Saturday, Mr. Pillai pointed out that at least Rs.450 crore would be required for negotiated land purchase alone. Land worth Rs.450 crore was all set for purchase at negotiated prices. However, the government had suspended land acquisition on the plea that all steps can wait till the Centre had granted environmental clearance for the project. It would take at least two years to obtain the clearance. The allocation was meant only to deceive the people of Thiruvananthapuram, he alleged.

The former Minister said that the environment impact assessment would have to be spread over pre-monsoon, monsoon and post-monsoon periods.

The LDF government had completed all steps to facilitate the environment impact study. It had also advanced Rs.44 crore for creation of road, rail, electricity and water infrastructure in the project area. Since no further allocation on these counts was needed currently, the government should utilise the Rs.150 crore for acquiring land, Mr. Pillai said.

He also accused Finance Minister K. M. Mani of having discriminated against the capital district. The LDF government had set apart Rs.100 crore in the original 2011-'12 budget for acquiring land for widening the Karamana-Kaliyikkavila stretch of the National Highway.

However, Mr. Mani had not allocated even a single rupee for the purpose in his revised budget, Mr. Pillai said.