K-Rail: 70% of land need to be acquired in advance

Though the Supreme Court decision not to interfere in the survey of land and social impact assessment for the SilverLine semi-high-speed rail project has come as a relief for the State government, a long and difficult road lies ahead when it comes to execution of the project.

According to sources close to Kerala Rail Development Corporation Limited(K-Rail) , a joint venture company for implementing the project, the company will have to acquire around 70% of the land required in advance to avail itself of foreign bank loans for the project.

International financial institutions such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) are particular about acquiring around 70% of the land in advance to provide term loan for the project. As per the detailed project report, at least two years are required to complete land acquisition, a tedious exercise which often gets mired in controversies and resistance from local people, while the government is hopeful of completing the project in 2025.

Though the government had accorded sanction to acquire 955.13 ha by invoking provisions of the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 land could be acquired only after the social impact assessment (SIA) and an evaluation of the SIA report by an expert committee.

Further, land acquisition can be started only on receipt of the expert committee recommendation and the recommendation of the District Collectors concerned. And this too after getting the ‘final approval from the Railway Board’ for the project.

Speaking to The Hindu, a senior officer said around 70% of the land had to be acquired in advance to avail loans from foreign banks, especially JICA. The proposal for the foreign bank loans has to be forwarded by the Department of Economic Affairs (DEA) under the Union Finance Ministry. The DEA nod, which is imperative for forwarding the proposal to foreign lending institutions, and the final approval of the Railway Board will be subjected to political clearance of the Centre.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2022 3:57:11 pm |