22 families likely to be displaced, 2 shops may be demolished

Residents of the centuries-old ‘agraharam’ that dots the Valiyasala street are worried as it is almost sure now that the Mass Rapid Transit System from Technocity to Karamana in the capital will cut across their homes.

As Kerala Mono Rail Corporation Ltd., the special purpose vehicle for the project, is gearing up for awarding the contract, the residents of 240 families are knocking at the doors of agencies to know the fate of their homesteads.

A Detailed Project Report prepared by the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation (DMRC) has said that 22 families will have to be displaced and two shops in the Valiyasala street will have to be demolished. The first phase of the 22.53-km elevated monorail, carried on single pillars to come along the road medians, will be from Technocity to Karamana with 19 stations.

The alignment that cut across the street was chosen to avoid the railway overbridge and the narrow NH 66 that cannot be widened nor occupied during the construction stages. The monorail line will move along the city Corporation’s parking lot at Thampanoor, where a designated stop has been provided for railway and bus commuters.

From Thampanoor, the monorail will move through the front of New Theatre to the Government Women and Children Hospital, Thycaud, and will run parallel to the railway foot overbridge across the Thiruvananthapuram-Kanyakumary line to cut across the ‘agraharam’ to join the median along the Killipalam road of NH 66.

The street has been existing since the ninth and tenth centuries AD and dates back to the period of Ay dynasty. It was part of the Kanthalloor Salai, a prominent educational centre then.

Petitions submitted

Although the residents had not been communicated of the displacement, they have petitioned Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, DMRC, and KMRL.

Vyasa Residents’ Association president R. Krishna Iyer said the 250-metre Valiyasala street should be avoided from the alignment and should be retained as a heritage zone as it was the “longest” agraharam.

The Chenthitta and Valiyasala streets were one single street earlier and got bifurcated for the development of the road. He said the residents had surrendered the land behind the homesteads for laying the railway line to Kanyakumari and were still suffering.

Mr. Iyer said the heritage value should be taken into account and that the street should not be torn apart for monorail. He moots an alternative route for taking the monorail.

Official sources told The Hindu that the alignment was finalised taking into account the cost involved in taking the line through the shunting neck and the likely delay in getting clearance from Railways.

The DMRC is planning to rehabilitate those being displaced from the street in 50 cents of land in the locality. The cost of the land and rehabilitation has been worked out as Rs.15 crore and it had been included as part of land cost in the estimate.