TAMIL NADU

Landowners get compensation cheques

TAMBARAM, MARCH 17. More than a 100 people whose land is being acquired to build a road over bridge on the Grand Southern Trunk Road at the Madras Institute of Technology (MIT) Gate, Chromepet, received their compensation today.

Of the 164 landowners eligible to get the compensation, 101 received cheques today. The rest would be despatched in a couple of days, officials said.

Legal hassles over land acquisition delayed work on the bridge that was due for completion over two years ago. With the compensation amount settled, work on acquiring the land would start in a week.

The Social Welfare Minister, B. Valarmathi, Kancheepuram District Collector, R. Venkatesan, and the Pallavaram Municipality chairman, P. Dhan Singh, took part in a function to distribute the cheques this evening. The first to receive the cheque was K. Meganathan, president of the MIT Gate Landowners Association.

Mr. Venkatesan said the 164 landowners were from two villages — Zamin Pallavaram and Hasthinapuram. It took several rounds of discussion, ministerial-level meetings and a court battle, to settle the compensation.

While those in Zamin Pallavaram were given compensation at Rs. 1,042.50 a square foot those in Hasthinapuram were given Rs. 666 a square foot. The compensation was for both land and structure. The total compensation was Rs. 11.96 crores, Mr. Venkatesan added.

Appeal contemplated

Landowners said they were contemplating approaching the court claiming that the compensation amount for the land alone was far below the market value.

The Highways Department officials said that it would take about six months to complete the bridge construction.

The roads on the bridge would be 7.5 metres wide while the service roads below would be 5.5 metres wide on either side.

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