As many as 260 landowners from Kanjiramkulam and 300 from Thirupuram panchayats would loose their land for the development of the Kazhakuttam-Karode bypass

Only two of 275 landowners of Kottukal village, who had given land for the development of the Kazhakuttam-Karode NH 66 bypass, were awarded the compensation on Monday. Sources said this was in spite of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) providing Rs.78.60 crore to the State government.

The lucky two were given Rs.7 lakh and Rs.38 lakh at a hurriedly convened function inaugurated by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy at the PWD Rest House here on Monday.

The fate of the rest of the landowners was yet to be known. Many landowners perceived the granting of compensation as an election gimmick. The move to choose those from Kottukal village alone had come in for criticism from those who had been waiting for compensation in the adjoining Kanjiramkulam and Thirupuram villages. As many as 260 landowners from Kanjiramkulam and 300 from Thirupuram panchayats would loose their land for the development of the NH bypass. Official sources said the amount disbursed on Monday was a token and the procedures by the Competent Authority on Land Acquisition (CALA) for the two panchayats were on. The NHAI had said that approval would be given once the CALA forwarded the documents. Kovalam-Kaliyikkavila Bypass Action Council chairman V. Sudhakaran said the authorities had not bothered to fix the price of the land identified for acquisition in Chenkal and Karode villages.

The Chief Minister said the bypasses work would be expedited and completed in a time-bound manner. Compared to the bypass projects at Kollam, Alappuzha, and Kozhikode, Mr. Chandy said the work at the Kazhakuttam bypass.