Land Acquisition for Kochi Metro stations likely to be over by month-end

Acquires 26.40 hectares of 40 hectares needed for Kochi Metro.  Most often the district administration had to innovate and improvise to win over landowners negotiating over price

Kochi:  The district administration expects to wrap up land acquisition for all Kochi Metro stations by this month-end.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, District Collector P.I. Sheikh Pareeth said acquisition of land for the Metro stations at Kaloor, Lissy, and Edappally remains to be completed. He said this may be completed in another fortnight.

The district administration has already acquired 26.40 hectares out of the 40 hectares needed for the Kochi Metro project through negotiations with about 2,000 landowners. A majority of them could be brought around to a mutually agreeable price. The Collector had to wield the stick on very few occasions with the carrot doing the trick more often than not.

The need for invoking the Land Acquisition Act (taking over land forcefully for what is regarded as ponnumvila) came up in just about a couple of cases, one on the M.G. Road stretch, Mr. Pareed said.

He said that though the going was not smooth initially, his team managed to strike a consensus in most of the cases eventually. A settlement could be reached with the landowners even in the Vyttila-Pettah stretch where they faced strongest resistance.

With land acquisition presenting the single biggest hurdle in development projects across the State, the district administration often had to innovate and improvise to win over landowners. For instance, in Muttom the landowners came aboard after being assured of the benefits of the development there.

The landowners agreed to part with their land for Rs. 1 lakh a cent on being promised the fruits of development to those who parted with over ten cents on the completion of the project.

The prospect of winning over the landowners in Edappally with the promise of commercial space in the Metro station is also being tried out.