Kochi Metro decides Compulsorily Acqusition of land of shops resisting acquisition

Metro land acquisition: big businesses play hardball

कोची Kochi: The Kochi Metro Rail Limited has decided to compulsorily acquire the land of a couple of prominent textile and jewellery shops in the city that are resisting acquisition.

“Small and medium traders were extremely cooperative with land acquisition, in stark contrast with the attitude of half a dozen prominent businesses (in the Edappally-MG Road stretch) which are opposing the process. We do not have any other option but to go for compulsory acquisition,” said Elias George, KMRL’s MD.

The major players are reportedly demanding double the compensation fixed by the government for their land. As a result, KMRL is encountering difficulty in acquiring seven more acres of land for the project, despite repeated expiry of deadlines. The agency has acquired 33 acres, most of them land belonging to small and medium traders.

“We are waiting for the State government to formulate land acquisition Rules based on draft Rules prepared by KMRL to go ahead with compulsory acquisition. The government is in an advanced stage of framing rules,” Mr. George said. The departments of law, revenue and finance are reportedly vetting the rules.

Though KMRL decided to opt for direct purchase of land to overcome procedural delays mentioned in the Central Act, this encountered problems in the absence of State-specific rules framed by State government.

As a result, land acquisition for the metro and other projects came to a standstill since January.

“The sole way is to pay 80 per cent of the money, take possession of plots required and pay the balance as per State rules,” sources said.