: The Mananchira-Vellimadukunnu Road Action Committee has demanded that District Collector N. Prasanth distribute within two weeks the amount of Rs. 35 crore recently sanctioned by the State government to landowners who handed over their property for the road-widening project.
Committee president and historian M.G.S. Narayanan and general secretary M.P. Vasudevan said that the Revenue Department had allotted Rs. 29 crore for two purposes — Rs. 25 crore to acquire land and the remaining Rs. 4 crore to construct compound walls on government land falling in the alignment of the project.
The Revenue Department had spent the first tranche of Rs. 10 crore to improve the junction at Malaparamba. Previously, the problem was that the government had failed or delayed release of the funds. But now the problem was utilising the funds to streamline the traffic on the 8.4 km Mananchira-Vellimadukunnu stretch of the highway, they said.
The office-bearers said the efforts of the action committee had resulted in 80 per cent of the landowners parting with their property, in advance, for the project. However, the officials declined to give a clear reply when they approached the Revenue Department for the compensation.
The committee also requested the Revenue Department to resolve the issue before the Election Commission notified the dates of the State Assembly polls. Otherwise, the compensation package would be further delayed.
However, Kozhikode Special Tahsildar ( Land Acquisition) N. Ramla said acquisition of land had to be done within the ambit of the newly framed rules by the government under the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act.
The notification for land acquisition for the Mananchira-Vellimadukunnu road had expired on June 30, 2015. Now the Revenue Department would have to work out modalities for direct purchase with individual landowners. This created a problem if the property was involved in legal disputes or did not have proper title deeds.
Moreover a compensation committee chaired by the Collector had to be constituted.
So far, the government had not clarified on the appointment, role and responsibility of an administrator of the proposed committee.
Ms. Ramla said all acquisitions could be done only after carrying out a social impact study and submitting a report to the government.