Land acquisition, a major bottleneck for road projects in Coimbatore

Flyover projects in the city are planned according to the space available as land acquisition involves challenges.

Flyover projects in the city are planned according to the space available as land acquisition involves challenges.   | Photo Credit: S_SIVA SARAVANAN

‘However, there have been instances when land owners have willingly come forward and given land for projects’

List projects that are waiting to take off or getting delayed at completion stage because of land acquisition issues and Coimbatore has quite a number. Be it road, flyover, or any other infrastructure project, land acquisition is a bottleneck and it is so for several reasons, according to official sources here.

In the recent years, some of the departments are looking at works that will involve nil or minimum land acquisition so that a project can be taken up and completed soon.

Coimbatore has national highway roads criss crossing the city, and hence, there are challenges in developing these roads further. When projects are taken up within the city, where there is a large number of buildings, land acquisition is a challenge. There is every possibility that the cost for land acquisition will be higher than the road or flyover development cost. Further, if a group of people go for litigation, the entire project gets delayed and may not even get implemented, say officials in the Department. “We can have better designs for the flyovers , if only more land was available,” says an official, who did not want to be identified. There are only two options when a project is mooted: go for land acquisition and have a world class design or look at possibilities with the existing area. In the core city areas, the projects are planned according to the space available, the official says.

Land costs are relatively high in Coimbatore, adds another official.

However, there have been instances when land owners have willingly come forward and given land for projects too. All stakeholders in the government should also be clear on the area needed and its acquisition when it comes to acquiring land for a project, the official added. Some times it is difficult to get adequate space temporarily to even make the precast slabs for a project, another official points out.

According to the new Act of the Central Government, land acquisition can be done only after social impact assessment and now all acquisition in the State is according to the new Act, says an official of the Revenue Department.

However, some of the land owners say that the opposition comes because of two or three factors. The compensation paid is not adequate; there is no transparency in the acquisition process; and there is no viable alternative for the land owner when fertile agricultural lands are taken over. “There is more fear and uncertainty among land owners rather than anger,” says one of them. For instance, in the Dindigul road that is being developed now, some of the land owners have received money. There was no opposition to the project. But, now, the farmers say that there is no clarity on the amount paid for land, coconut trees, and wells, and there is difference in amount that each of them received.

In most cases, the compensation offered is far less than the market price. “The Government should think of the future of the land owner. His livelihood cannot become a question mark. There should be reasonable compensation .Further, the officials should hold consultation meetings in each area identified for a project,” says another land owner.

K. Kathirmathiyon, secretary of the Coimbatore Consumer Cause, says that acquisition or removal of encroachments for a project should not remain on paper. Where needed, acquisition should be completed. In the case of Karamadai flyover, the public face more problems after construction of a flyover as there is no service road. In the case of Gandhipuram flyover, the temples are yet to be removed on the service road. For Kovundampalayam, there is more traffic congestion because the encroachments are not removed yet. If a proposal involves land acquisition, it should be completed before the development works start. The Collector and Corporation Commissioner should facilitate removal of encroachments and in getting the required land for a project, he says.

Rather than looking at the present day needs, the projects should have a long-term vision to meet the future needs, adds architect P. Arun Prasad.

District Collector K. Rajamani says compared to some of the other places in the State, Coimbatore does not have a problem of projects getting shelved or unduly delayed because of land acquisition. In any project anywhere, land acquisition does taken time. If there are issues, it could be resolved too, he says.

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Printable version | Feb 19, 2020 4:01:19 AM |

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