Four-laning of bypass in Chenkal, Karode blocks

The district administration will go ahead with land acquisition in the Chenkal and Karode blocks of Neyattinkara taluk to expedite four-laning of the 43-km Kazhakuttom-Inchivila NH 66 bypass. The land acquisition process had encountered problems over the fixing of fair value.

The decision comes in the wake of the suspension of the District Level Purchase Committee meeting to fix fair value of land belonging to 400-odd persons in the two blocks. The DLPC meeting was suspended after a section of land owners demanded higher fair value than the Rs. 4.14 lakh per cent fixed for A class lands with access to Public Works Department (PWD) roads.

Initially, the fair value was pegged at Rs.2.15 lakh for a cent. It was later increased to Rs. 4.14 lakh. But, the landowners sought Rs. 5.25 lakh for a cent as sanctioned for A class lands in the adjoining Kottukal, Kanjiramkulam and Thirupuram blocks. This had led to the abrupt end of the three-day DLPC meeting.

District Collector K.N. Satheesh told The Hindu that good fair value had been fixed for the land to be acquired in the two blocks by the DLPC and it could not be hiked as demanded by a section of landowners. “We will go ahead with the process as per law if the people do not cooperate,” he added.

The administration has almost reached the four-month deadline fixed for acquiring land for the Rs. 750-crore four-laning of the bypass aimed at decongesting the roads.

As the statutory notification under Section 3A of the National Highways Act, 1956 for acquisition of land was published last in the Gazette of India (Extraordinary) on March 22 this year, the Revenue authorities will get one year to complete the land acquisition formalities.

About 70.65 hectares had to be acquired on the 17-km Kottukal-Karode stretch. The stretch was part of the 212-km NH 66 (old NH 47) bypass project of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) in the State from Thuravur, which had commenced in 1974.

After completing acquisition of land for a 27-km four-lane road between Kazhakuttom and Kottukal, a two-lane stretch of 22 km between Kazhakuttom and Kovalam junction was completed about 15 years ago.

Work on the bypass had come to a standstill and the 3A notifications issued twice for acquiring the remaining land had lapsed. Mr. Satheesh said the administration wanted to complete the process soon.

V. Sudhakaran, president, Kovalam-Kaliyikavila Bypass Action Council, said they would stick to the demand for fair value on a par given to the other three blocks. The administration cannot arbitrarily go ahead and take land forcibly, he added.

Nearly 25.26 hectares will have to be additionally acquired on the 22-km Kazhakuttom-Kottukal stretch for bridges, culverts, and viaducts to facilitate the widening of the two-lane road to four-lane. The four-laning, to be taken up as a build-operate-and transfer project, envisaged four major bridges, including a new two-lane one at Akkulam; 60 culverts; a rail overbridge at Chakka; and 11 underpasses.

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