About 5,400 square metres of patta lands are to be acquired

Delay in completing the land acquisition process has halted the construction of a new road overbridge that is coming up across the railway level-crossing on the Oyamari Road in Tiruchi.

The bridge that would connect the Chinthamani area of the city with the Chennai Bypass Road was sanctioned at a cost of Rs.28.50 crore. It was intended to provide quick and easy access to the four-lane Tiruchi-Chennai highway from the city.

The four-lane bridge would run for a distance of 640 metres. Service roads, each 5.5 metres wide, would be built along the two sides of the bridge.

The project, scheduled to be completed by March this year, has suffered a time over-run with construction being halted midway. The contractor has been given a time extension now.

Though the work commenced in May 2010, the project ran into some initial road blocks owing to the delay in shifting of utility lines. Since then the highways department has completed 90 per cent of the work on one side, towards the Chennai Bypass Road, leaving a half-finished bridge.

The work could not be taken up towards the city side where about 5,600 square metres of patta lands have to be acquired in the Keezha Devadhanam area.

About 75 to 100 families of low income group families, living in huts and tiled houses at Odathurai, would be displaced on account of the land acquisition.

Only after the land acquisition was completed that the highways department could resume the work.

Enquiries revealed that the district revenue authorities are in the process of fixing the value of the land and buildings that are to be acquired. Once the value is fixed, the acquisition has to be approved by the government.

Speaking to The Hindu, a senior officer attributed the delay to the elaborate procedure involved in land acquisition but said the process has been expedited now.

The highways department would also be forced to delay the commencement of work on widening the existing bridge across the railway crossing near Periyar Nagar on the Thiruvanaikovil Trunk Road, a project sanctioned over a year ago. Only on completion of Oyamari road bridge could traffic be diverted to facilitate the construction work on the Thiruvanaikovil Trunk Road.

A section of city residents also points out that this is not the first project that has suffered time over-runs due to delay in land acquisition. Quite a few of the road bridges that were constructed in recent years in the city had run into similar problems, indicating a need for completing the land acquisition process first before commencing major infrastructure projects.