Thiruvananthapuram

Rights panel suggests social impact study

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Land acquisition for road-widening project

The Kerala State Human Rights Commission has directed that a social impact assessment be conducted ahead of acquiring land for widening the Vazhayila-Nedumangad-Pazhakutti Road into a four-lane stretch. The agency entrusted with the study should hear complaints against land acquisition before taking a decision, the commission said.

Commission chairperson Antony Dominic was acting on a complaint filed by Nabeesa Ummal, Abdul Salam, and M. Mohammed Kasim seeking a change in the current alignment.

The complainants had said the alignment, decided by the Public Works Department (PWD), was illogical, and would result in a number of problems to the common people, including eviction. They were not heard before fixing the alignment, they said.

The District Collector and the PWD submitted explanations to the commission. The Collector said 11.86 hectares of land was being acquired for the development of the Vazhayila-Nedumangad road. Changes could not be made to the alignment, decided in a scientific manner.

The current road contained curves and turns. The new alignment, for widening it into a four-lane accident-free road, was prepared as per the Indian Road Congress norms, the report said. Changing the alignment would lead to accidents. Land was acquired as per rules concerned. Those losing their land would be compensated as per a package, it said, adding that though it was a ₹340-crore project, the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board was yet to give its nod.

The complainants, however, argued that if the alignment was not changed, the common man would suffer.

The Collector informed the commission that only on the basis of the report of the agency conducting the social impact assessment would land be acquired.

Mr. Dominic said the complainats should be heard prior to that; they could present their arguments in front of the agency.

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Printable version | Jan 18, 2020 2:13:08 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/rights-panel-suggests-social-impact-study/article25873652.ece

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