Kochi Metro Rail leaps over land acquisition hurdle

Kochi: Though the state government has not framed the rules for the Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act, 2013 (LARRA), the new order issued in favour of the ongoing acquisitions will bring a fresh lease of life to various projects, including the Kochi Metro Rail.

Projects such as Kochi Metro were hit by land acquisition hurdles owing to the delay in framing new policies for the amended Land Acquisition Act. The Act of 1894 was amended only last year and LARRA came into force in January 2014.

However, majority of the government agencies were not in a position to carry out the land acquisition as per the new Act as the State Government has not framed the rules. As a consequence land acquisition of various projects came to a standstill.

In an Order issued earlier this month, the Government clarified that in cases where 4(1) Notification have been issued but declarations under section 6 (Declaration that land is required for a public purpose) have not been issued, the declaration under LA Act 1894 is to be issued immediately so that the acquisition proceedings can be completed.

In its order, the Government also clarified that in cases where the land value is already fixed, an agreement should be entered into with the land owners that further compensation, if any, will be paid only after framing rules and regulations for LARRA.

“In cases where declarations under section 6 have already been issued, land value has to be fixed by the District Level Purchase Committee (DLPC) and complete acquisition procedures without further delay,” the Government Order stated.

The new order will give a fresh breath of life to the Kochi Metro Rail project, for which the authorities have already acquired 34 hectares of the total 40 hectares required.

For the remaining 6 hectares, the authorities are facing many stumbling blocks, the main one being the delay in framing the rules under LARRA.

With the State Government issuing the new order, the Agency believes that they will be able to complete the land acquisition procedures by August, as per their scheduled deadline.

“We have initiated proceedings to complete the land acquisition of the Metro Rail project as per the new Government Order. It is expected to be completed within the stipulated time,” Ernakulam District Collector M G Rajamanickam told