TAMIL NADU

Chromepet landowners yet to see any money

CHENNAI, OCT. 7. Six months after agreeing on compensation to enable the Government to complete land acquisition for constructing the MIT Road overbridge at Chromepet, landowners are yet to see any money.

The agreement was reached during a Lok Adalat convened by the Tamil Nadu High Court Legal Services Authority on April 24. A. Ramamurthi, retired judge, ruled that Rs. 25 lakh per ground was a "just and a reasonable amount" for landowners on the Grand Southern Trunk Road, while fixing the amount at Rs.16 lakhs per ground in Hasthinapuram.

Though the respondents, including the Highways Department and the Kancheepuram district administration, had agreed on the rate, they haven't received the money, say landowners.

They are worried about two things: the fate of the project and compensation.

The Rs. 22-crore overbridge, begun in November 2000, was scheduled to be completed in two years. The delay, according to K. Meganathan, president of the association representing landowners of Hasthinapuram Main Road, Nehru Nagar and Tirumalaikunoor, was because of disagreements on the compensation. He recalled that on January 4, 2003, they had agreed to the rate proposed by the Government -- Rs. 1,125 and Rs. 678 per square foot for landowners on the GST Road and Hasthinapuram respectively.

Subsequently, at another meeting on December 12, 2003, the amount was revised to Rs. 644 and Rs. 258 per square foot respectively..

It was only after this that they decided to move the High Court. The court, hearing their case on April 23, ordered that a meeting of the Adalat be convened the next day, where they agreed on compensation of Rs. 25 lakhs and Rs. 16 lakhs per ground on GST Road and Hasthinapuram.

But now, six months down the line, the landowners are still waiting for word from the government agencies. Though the Lok Adalat had acted speedily, the government is still to pay them their dues.