Only a handful of people against land acquisition: panel

Vested interests have approached the High Court against the widening of the Mananchira-Vellimadukunnu stretch of National Highway-212, a local action committee led by noted historian M.G.S. Narayanan has said.

The Mananchira-Vellimadukunnu Road Action Council said in a statement on Saturday that some residents in Malaparamaba-Paroppady area had approached the court in August this year, saying the present width of the road, that is 10 metres, was sufficient. The council said the case was “motivated” and it would also become party to a petition in the court.

“A handful of people out of 2,200 residents in the area filed the case for personal reasons. This case is against public interest and development of the city,” the council said.

Meet with Minister

The delay in land acquisition had led to a district-level meeting chaired by Public Works Minister V.K. Ebrahim Kunju earlier this month. Following talks with the action committee members, who had threatened protests, the Revenue Department had promised to complete the acquisition at an estimated cost of Rs.345 crore within a year.

The road-widening project should be completed before April 2015.

The Minister had also warned in the meeting that other road development projects in the city would be affected if this project was not completed on time.

The road, though one of the six thoroughfares in the city marked under the urban road development project, has a chequered history. The intent to speed up the four-lane widening work on the road was published in the Gazette on April 20 this year, following a high-level meeting with the Chief Minister over the delay in acquisition.

Allegation

Despite this, no move was made to form a special team for the project, identify land, and fix compensation. Moreover, a revenue official was accused of being involved in burying files pertaining to the project.

The committee had earlier alleged that certain vested interests were working against the road-widening project. Some landowners along the road and some revenue officials were found responsible for the delay in publishing the draft notification.

The action committee had also complained to the Chief Minister on November 17 during his mass contact programme here. This had led to the discussions with the PWD Minister.

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