Meeting of stakeholders postponed; land acquisition was to have been completed in February
Legal proceedings have again delayed the acquisition and alienation of over 23,466 sq. m of land for the MRTS (Mass Rapid Transit System) link between Velachery and St. Thomas Mount.
The land acquisition process was expected to be completed by February, but the work is likely to be delayed again. A meeting of stakeholders was proposed to be held at the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority on Monday to cope with the challenges associated with yet another phase of delay. The meeting was however postponed. A writ petition pertaining to the project by affected residents had earlier delayed the project by 18 months. “Now, on writ appeal we have another stay. So the CMDA officials will have to convince the court that the project is crucial for the metropolitan area,” said an official of CMDA.
The delayed work on the incomplete portions of the 5-km stretch is not expected to resume as planned earlier. The land acquisition process resumed last year after a stay was vacated. More residents started protesting after the original alignment was changed a few years ago. Private lands measuring 6,550 sq m along the stand-alone rail alignment, 3,038 sq m near Adambakkam Station and 8,462 sq m near Puzhuthivakkam Station were identified for land acquisition. The land acquisition is yet to be completed for the three areas. The CMDA will be able to hand over the land to Railways only after the land acquisition is completed and award is passed.
After notification and valuation of structures by PWD officials, the Revenue Department officials have completed field inspection of the land and structures.
The Revenue Department had conducted award enquiry for Adambakkam on December 28, 2012. Land acquisition along stand-alone rail alignment has emerged as the most important stumbling block now.
A number of encroachments that had sprung up in the government lands identified for the project will be removed after resettlement by the Tamil Nadu Slum Clearance Board through the allotment of alternative accommodation. Employees, including those who work in companies on Rajiv Gandhi Salai, are expected to make use of the Velachery-St Thomas Mount MRTS. The stretch will not be completed this year because of the delay. The completion of the project is expected to help people commuting from residential localities on GST Road to Rajiv Gandhi Salai. Work on the stretch started in 2008 with a deadline of December 2010.