Staff Reporter

Processes for Smart City and railway line face protests from landowners

Deadline for taking over land for railway line is November 1

Owners of land to be acquired for Smart City start protest today

KOCHI: Land acquisition for laying a railway line to the proposed Vallarpadam International Container Transhipment Terminal is hitting one roadblock after another, though the deadline for taking over property is November 1.

A majority of landowners in Edappally north and south villages has declined to accept the award notice sent by the district administration, which gives the price fixed for the land by the district-level purchasing committee and the date by which they are expected to hand over the property.

District Collector A.P.M. Mohammed Hanish said the district administration would discuss with the State government the possibility of acquiring land after issuing warrants and depositing the price in the court under the land acquisition Act.

But anyway, the deadline will not be met.

Satyagraha

Things are not looking bright for acquisition of land for the Smart City project either. A section of landowners will stage an indefinite satyagraha under a landowners’ protest committee in front of Infopark from Tuesday.

Nearly 50 people who own 2.4 hectares of land near Infopark have been on the path of agitation.

E.K. Jamaal, convener of the committee, said acquisition of their land could have been averted if the process was not unscientific. Besides, the price being fixed reflected the market price that prevailed in 2002 and not the current rate.

“The acquisition as planned will deny us access to the Masjid- Bund road and the Kadamprayar and Edachira canals. This can be avoided by making the Masjid-Bund road the natural boundary,” he said.

In this way, their land could be exempted from acquisition.

The protesting landowners met Chief Minister V.S. Achuthanandan at Aluva Palace on Sunday.

Mr. Achuthanandan agreed to examine the issue and take steps accordingly, Mr. Jamaal said.

Mr. Hanish said the Chief Minister had directed him to examine the complaints and recommend to the government the steps that could be taken.

The landowners handed over a mass petition to the Collector last week.

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