K. Srimali

Bandar Road expansion: owners do not come forward for a negotiated settlement

Estimate as per prevailing rates under Land Acquisition ActCommissioner reportedly passes Rs.50 lakhs for structural compensationVMC required to pay dues of nearly Rs.10 crores to UDA

VIJAYAWADA: A cash-strapped Vijayawada, Guntur, Tenali and Mangalagiri - Urban Development Authority (VGTM-UDA) may be forced to shell out Rs.25 crore to Rs.30 crore for acquiring land from the owners of properties in the first phase of Bandar Road for widening it to 120 feet.

UDA officials have made this estimate of the money required for paying compensation as per the prevailing land rates under the Land Acquisition Act, assuming the owners of all 91 properties do not come forward for a negotiated settlement.

Out of the 114 properties in the first phase, 23 had given consent for parting with land for road widening to 100 feet. It was to bring the remaining 91 owners around to accepting the inevitability of parting with their land that the revenue notification was issued.

Some owners have moved the High Court against the notification, and a stay is in force. The UDA's petition for vacation of stay is likely to come up for hearing on Monday. As the funds required appear intimidating, UDA and VMC officials are hoping for a negotiated settlement, which can bail them out.

VMC Commissioner Natarajan Gulzar has claimed 38 owners have given written consent for giving away their lands and representatives of the `first reach owners and tenants association' assert there are no chinks in the unity.

The Commissioner is learnt to have offered a few shops in Kaleswara Rao Market to those who volunteered to give away their lands, in addition to the structural compensation. He reportedly passed on Rs.50 lakh to the UDA to pay structural compensation to those owners who had voluntarily given their lands and whose buildings had already been pulled down.

This was done to send positive signals to other owners.

UDA officials say since the Government cannot rescue them if a huge compensation has to be paid, they are banking on the VMC to help out.

The VMC is required to pay nearly Rs.10 crores to the UDA towards the development fee it had collected over the past few years on the latter's behalf as a delegated authority under the AP Urban Development Authorities Act.

The VMC had not cleared these dues despite several reminders from top officials. But the corporation could be willing to use this money to fund the road widening, as Mr. Gulzar is keen on taking the widening of Bandar Road to its logical conclusion, according to UDA officials.